'Go time': 1st US offshore wind facility enters final construction phase

Dive Brief:

  • Developers of the 30 MW Block Island offshore wind project are taking deliveries of turbines, preparing for the final phase of construction and expect the project to be completed by the end of the year.
  • Three miles offshore Rhode Island, the project will be the United States' first offshore wind development along its substantial coast; the company in July completed installation of miles of cable needed to move power back the the mainland.
  • The project, developed by Deepwater Wind, consists of five turbines capable of producing 30 MW. Construction, which will create an estimated 300 jobs, is expected to be finished by the end of 2016.

Dive Insight:

The United States' first offshore wind development is nearing construction. Developers of the Deepwater Wind facility say it will takes months to commission, but the facility is still aiming to be online by the end of the year.

“It’s go time,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said in a statement. “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.”

In July, a cable laying vessel (dubbed Big Max) 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.

Proposed in 2009, the project has a power purchase agreement with National Grid. The turbines will provide electricity to all the island’s homes and businesses in place of diesel generators, and excess generation will go into the mainland grid via a new undersea cable.

All 15 turbine tower sections and 15 blades, supplied by GE Renewable Energy and its blade manufacturer LM Wind Power, were delivered last month.

For some color on current development, check out the Providence Journal's coverage of the final sage of construction. The paper reports on the arrival of Brave Tern — a delivery ship capable of lifting 800 tons and jacking itsef out of the water on gigantic legs.

“Projects like the Block Island Wind Farm are the future not only of Rhode Island’s economy, but the whole country’s economy,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said. “With this project, Rhode Island continues to position itself as a leader and an innovator in the industries of the future.”

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables
Top image credit: Wikimedia Commons