240-foot turbine blades arrive in Rhode Island

Block Island Wind Farm will be the first offshore wind farm in the U.S.

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Offshore construction activities are proceeding apace for the Block Island Wind Farm, so named becuase it is located 3 miles offshore of Block Island, near Providence RI, US. Activities were notable for the arrival of the 240-foot long turbine blades at Providence-based Deepwater Wind and GE’s assembly facility at the Providence port facility (ProvPort).

On June 28, local stevedores began offloading the 15 blades at ProvPort. The blades, and the tower sections, already assembled there, were scheduled to travel by boat to the Block Island Wind Farm site at the beginning of August.

GE is supplying the 6-megawatt Haliade 150 offshore wind turbines for the Block Island Wind Farm. The blades were built in Denmark by GE’s subcontractor, LM Wind Power.

Meanwhile, installation of the submarine cables for the wind farm and the Island’s new connection to the mainland are making significant progress: The 6.5-mile submarine cable connecting the wind farm to Block Island has been installed. In addition, National Grid’s 17-mile sea2shore cable connection between Block Island and mainland Rhode Island reached a major milestone last week with the successful landing of the cable on Block Island’s shore. In July, Deepwater Wind will complete the cable connections between the wind turbines themselves.

Deepwater Wind is actively planning offshore wind projects to serve multiple East Coast markets located 15 or more miles offshore. Block Island is the first offshore wind energy project to be built under US jurisdiction, approved only after a long and difficult uphill battle by many applicants on many fronts along the US Eastern Seaboard. The long US battle for offshore wind, a sharp contrast to the nation's enthusiasm in most quarters for onshore wind farm construction, is a curiosity in view of a world scene where most international players have embraced offshore wind as readily, or even more readily, than onshore in an effort to reduce dependence on fossil fuel resources (for more, see "The markets: Renewable energy (2016)" and "US wind energy: Offshore promise remains unfulfilled, onshore strong" under "Editor's Picks").

Editor Pick

The markets: Renewable energy (2017)

Wind energy continues to dominate in this segment. Although previously fastest-growing Europe shows signs of slowing wind farm growth, the US might finally move offshore, China, India and Brazil are hot, and the Rest of the World wants in.