- Deepwater Wind passed a landmark with the installation of the first of five steel foundations for its 30 MW Block Island Wind Project. It is the first steel in the water for the first commercial-scale U.S. offshore wind installation.
- The project, off the coast of Rhode Island's Block Island, will have five 6 MW turbines. Its output is contracted for by National Grid. Construction is expected to provide up to 300 jobs.
- Placement of the submarine cable and turbines is scheduled for spring-summer of 2016. The project met the in-construction terms of the 2013 production tax credit as well as the terms of wind’s investment tax credit, so developers will be able to choose either when it goes online before the end of 2016.
The 400-ton steel jacket, one of five built by Gulf Island Fabrication in Louisiana last year, was set into the seabed three miles off the Block Island coast in a cooperative effort by Weeks Marine and Manson Construction, Deepwater Wind’s offshore foundation contractors.
Because of the harsh conditions of the New England offshore environment, Deepwater is planning on an eight-week construction period this summer. It will use over a dozen construction and transport barges, tugboats, crew ships, and monitoring vessels and employ vessel and crane operators, engineers, welders, scientists, protected species observers and dozens of others.
There were about 7 GW of offshore wind installed globally at the end of 2014, most in Europe, where another 6.6 GW were in construction and development, according to "Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis" from the Department of Energy and Navigant Research.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates its wind development area off the Rhode Island and Massachusetts coasts has a 9,000 MW potential and could create 43,000 New England jobs.