Deepwater Wind will soon embark on the final stage of construction of the Block Island Wind Farm, a complex operation that will feature some of the industry’s most innovative offshore wind technology and a world-class team of dozens of workers and specialists.
Installation of the Block Island Wind Farm’s turbine towers, blades and nacelles is scheduled to begin in early August at the project site, roughly three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island.
“It’s go time,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “We’re ready to bring this historic project across the finish line. This is sure to be a momentous summer – not just for this project, but also for the start of a new American industry.”
The Block Island Wind Farm has remained on schedule, and the project is set to be fully constructed this summer and commissioned in the fall.
“Projects like the Block Island Wind Farm are the future not only of Rhode Island’s economy, but the whole country’s economy,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “With this project, Rhode Island continues to position itself as a leader and an innovator in the industries of the future.”
“Today marks another major step in the construction of America’s first offshore wind farm,” added Eric Crucerey, Project Director, Block Island Wind Farm, GE Renewable Energy. “GE Renewable Energy is proud to be partnering with Deepwater Wind in this first of its kind project. We believe this historic project will demonstrate the potential of offshore wind in the U.S. and create additional momentum for this clean and abundant source of power.”
- Cables: Last week, the Big Max cable lay vessel (under a contract with LS Cable and its subcontractor Durocher Marine) completed installation of all cables for the project, including the four inter-array cables connecting the five wind turbine foundations and the export cable connecting the wind farm to a new substation on Block Island.In addition, National Grid completed the installation of the sea2shore submarine cable connection between Block Island and mainland Rhode Island in June.
- Turbine components: All 15 turbine tower sections and 15 blades, supplied by GE Renewable Energy and its blade manufacturer LM Wind Power, have been delivered to ProvPort, in Providence. These components will be shuttled from ProvPort to the project site by two Montco Offshore liftboats – the L/B Paul and the L/B Caitlin – that arrived at Quonset Point earlier this month.
- Nacelles: GE has completed manufacturing of all turbine components. The last major components to be completed – the five nacelles – began their journey across the Atlantic from the manufacturing facility in St. Nazaire, France, to the project site on July 15.The nacelles are being transported by Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Tern, an offshore wind installation vessel. The Brave Tern is expected to arrive in Rhode Island by early August, and will first undergo U.S. Coast Guard inspections at its bunkering position in the southern area of Narragansett Bay, near Newport, R.I., before traveling to the Block Island site.
- Offshore installation: The final construction phase – offshore turbine installation by Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Tern and the two Montco liftboats – will take roughly one month and is expected to finish by early September.
- Commissioning: GE technicians will commission the wind turbines, a process that will start during offshore installation and take several months. The Block Island Wind Farm’s crew transfer vessel, Atlantic Wind Transfer’s Atlantic Pioneer, will transport these technicians to the wind farm. The wind farm will be in commercial operations once commissioning is complete.
- Information for Mariners: The U.S. Coast Guard has established a 500-yard exclusion zone during offshore construction.
A year ago, Deepwater Wind made history with the first “steel in the water” for offshore wind in America. All five steel jacket foundations were successfully installed during a busy 18-week construction period last year, with approximately 200 workers (100 of them local) and a dozen construction and transport barges, tugboats, crew ships, and monitoring vessels active at the project’s port facilities and the wind farm site.
All told, more than 300 local workers are involved with building the Block Island Wind Farm. Deepwater Wind is using four Rhode Island ports to complete construction and staging.