Last Turbine Installed at Block Island Wind

Block Island Wind Farm

Published Aug 19, 2016 8:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

The final blade of the Block Island Wind Farm’s five wind turbine towers was installed on Thursday.

The 30MW installation at Rhode Island is a U.S. first. The farm is expected to be fully operational within a few months. It will be capable of providing power to about 17,000 homes once all the wind turbines are online.

The project has cost $451 million, according to Forbes. This includes $225 million for equipment, construction and installation, $118 million for design, legal and permitting and $108 million for the undersea cable needed to connect the facility to the established mainland grid.

The turbines were installed by Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s jack-up installation vessel Brave Tern. The Brave Tern carried the five nacelles 3,300 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from General Electric’s manufacturing plant in France. It is one of the world’s most advanced installation vessels, with cranes capable of lifting 800 tons, and its self-propelled jack-up system bringing the vessel to a height of roughly 480 feet above sea level during installation.

Prior to installing the turbines, Deepwater Wind and General Electric assembled the electrical components of the towers at a temporary assembly facility at the Port of Providence. The lift-boats, Caitlin and Paul, then delivered the 15 blades and 15 tower sections on-site for assembly. 

Deepwater Wind has plans for other projects including one at Long Island, another island with high electricity rates and a power system dependent on burning oil.

The U.S. currently accounts for approximately 18 percent of the global energy consumption. Earlier this month, the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, signed a bill mandating utility companies to acquire 1,600MW of electricity from renewable sources such as offshore wind over the next 10 years. 

NOIA Congratulates Deepwater Wind

Offshore oil and gas industry body NOIA’s President Randall Luthi issued the following statement applauding the completion of America’s first offshore wind farm: “I congratulate Deepwater Wind on completing construction on America’s first offshore wind farm, the Block Island Wind Farm off of Rhode Island. The completion of any offshore energy project is no small feat; the road from concept to completion can be very lengthy and rife with challenging regulatory hurdles, unanticipated permitting delays, and vocal environmental opposition alongside enthusiastic public support.  

“We will need all forms of offshore energy, both traditional and renewable, to meet growing U.S. and global energy demands. The Block Island Wind Farm is a remarkable first step in that direction for America’s emerging offshore wind industry. I am proud that NOIA members Gulf Island Fabrication and Montco Offshore contributed to this historic achievement.”