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Season One Success for US Windfarm

Monday, December 14, 2015

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America’s first offshore wind farm just reached another project milestone: wrapping up its initial offshore construction season.

The Block Island Wind Farm, being built three miles off the coast of Rhode Island, now has five steel jacket foundations fully installed on the job site.

Offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind called it a successful first season in a statement released Tuesday (Dec. 8), but plans are already in place for the next phase of construction.

“From the first ‘steel in the water’ in July to the last deck lift in November, we’ve completed a season of firsts—not only for the Block Island Wind Farm but also for the launch of a new American offshore wind industry,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, Deepwater Wind CEO

“We are proud of the work we’ve accomplished so far, but we’ve only just begun—and 2016 will be a year to remember.”

A Successful 2015 Season

Construction of the offshore wind farm began with the first “steel in the water” installation, which began July 26. At that time, the first of five bases for the large turbines began to be lowered into the ocean floor.

Just 18 weeks later, construction crews installed the last deck platform on Nov. 21 before offshore work ceased for the winter.

According to the developer, approximately 200 workers (100 of them local) and a dozen construction and transport barges, tugboats, crew ships and monitoring vessels were active at the project’s port facilities and wind farm site over the course of that work period.

Four ports in the state—at Block Island, Galilee, Quonset Point and the Port of Providence—are also in use for construction and staging.

“With this project, we’re putting hundreds of our local workers to work at-sea and at our world-class ports to build a project that will help diversify Rhode Island’s energy mix and protect our environment,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo.

In total, more than 300 local workers are expected to be involved with the build.

“We are especially proud that our work was done while upholding very high environmental standards,” Grybowski added.

During this first season, the developer said, all construction activities were completed in accordance with strict environmental rules set by state and federal government agencies.

Additionally, in 2013, Deepwater Wind voluntarily agreed to a series of measures to protect North Atlantic right whales from potential underwater noise during construction.

Course Charted for 2016

The focus this winter and spring will be on turbine assembly and submarine cable installation work, the company said.

The company is partnering with General Electric (GE) to set up a new temporary manufacturing facility at the Port of Providence, one of only two deep-water ports in New England, where turbine components will be assembled.

GE, which recently completed its acquisition of Alstom’s offshore wind unit, is reported to be supplying the 6-megawatt Haliade 150 offshore wind turbines for the Block Island Wind Farm.

Approximately 60 local workers will be involved in this aspect of the project.

According to an earlier announcement, GE and Deepwater intend to call on a team of local contractors, including Aladdin Electric, Bay Crane New England, Essex Newbury, E.W. Audet & Sons, Aero Mechanical Inc., Waterson Terminal Services, GZA GeoEnvironmental, VHB, and Fuss & O’Neill. 

Workers from the laborers, carpenters, elevator constructors, IBEW, ironworkers, plumbers and pipefitters, cement masons, operating engineers and stevedoring unions will be involved, the companies said.

Over the next six months, GE will install the electrical, mechanical and safety equipment within the bottom tower sections now at ProvPort, with the remaining tower sections arriving in Rhode Island next year.

Each turbine tower consists of three sections, with a total height of approximately 270 feet, and a total weight of approximately 440 tons, once assembled.

The assembly activities at ProvPort will complement construction and staging work completed at Quonset Point, in North Kingstown, RI. Local welders at Quonset’s Specialty Diving Services completed fabrication of some foundation components in early 2015.

The port continues to host construction work and vessel staging for the wind farm. Quonset will also host the project’s long-term operations and maintenance facility.

Submarine cable installation is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016, with erection of the five offshore wind turbines set for the summer of 2016.

The project is scheduled to be in-service and generating power in the fourth quarter of 2016.

TThe wind farm is expected to put out 30 megawatts of electric power—enough to power the 17,000 homes on Block Island. The island is 12 miles from the mainland and currently uses diesel fuel for electricity, according to UPI reports. Excess electricity will be carried to the mainland by cable.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Offshore; Program/Project Management; Utilities; Wind Farm; Wind Towers

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (12/14/2015, 8:52 AM)

What paint systems are they using?

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