First US offshore wind farm operational

December 13, 2016

The first offshore wind farm to deliver energy to the American power grid is now operational, owner Deepwater Wind said this week.

The turbines have now completed commissioning and testing and started commercial operations. Energy produced from the wind farm is linked to the New England grid by National Grid’s new sea2shore submarine transmission cable system.

OE profiled Block Island in its July 2016 issue before it came online.

Block Island boasts 30MW capacity, made up of five Haliade 150 6MW offshore wind turbines, 3nm offshore Rhode Island. The turbines, which are twice the height of the Statue of Liberty with blade tips towering 600ft above the water, will be provided by Alstom, which was acquired by GE in late 2015.

“We’ve made history here in the Ocean State (Rhode Island), but our work is far from over,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski. “We’re more confident than ever that this is just the start of a new US renewable energy industry that will put thousands of Americans to work and power communities up and down the East Coast for decades to come."

This milestone concludes a two-year offshore installation of the wind farm, Deepwater Wind says. More than 300 workers helped develop, build and commission the project. Deepwater Wind used four separate Rhode Island port facilities – ProvPort, Quonset Point, Galilee and Block Island – to complete the wind farm’s staging, construction and commissioning over the last two years.

Technicians from GE Renewable Energy, which supplied the project’s five offshore wind turbines, put the wind farm through its paces during the four-month testing period. The project’s crew transfer vessel, the Rhode Island-built Atlantic Pioneer, transported technicians to the wind farm around the clock.

Deepwater Wind’s supplier and construction partners included GE Renewable Energy, Gulf Island Fabrication, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, LM Windpower and LS Cable, Montco Offshore, and Weeks Marine.

The project’s local contractors included: AECOM, Aero Mechanical Inc., AIS Observers, Aladdin Electric, Badd Brothers, Bay Crane New England, Blount Boats, Challenge Electronics, Communication Systems Inc., DiPrete Engineering, Duffy & Shanley, E.W. Audet, Eagle Elevator, ESS Group, Essex Newbury, Fuss & O’Neill, GeoEnvironmental, GZA, Hart Engineering, Hinckley Allen, Inspire Environmental, Keough & Sweeney, Mayforth Group, Meridan Ocean Services, Mott MacDonald, National Grid, Rhode Island Fast Ferry’s Atlantic Wind Transfers, Specialty Diving Services, VHB, Waterson Terminal Services, and WF Shea, among others. Earlier this summer, National Grid completed installation of the sea2shore submarine cable connection between Block Island and mainland Rhode Island.

“Rhode Island is proud to be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm – and I’m proud to be the only governor in America who can say we have steel in the water and blades spinning over the ocean,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. 

Image: The jacket foundations being installed at the Block Island Wind Farm site. Photo from Deepwater Wind. 

Read more

Building Blocks – OE profiled the Block Island Wind Farm before it went online.

Developing US offshore wind

Video: Block Island turbine installaion

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