Deepwater Wind and GE are establishing a new temporary manufacturing facility at the Port of Providence for the assembly of turbine components for the Block Island Wind Farm.
GE – which recently completed its acquisition of Alstom's offshore wind unit – is supplying the 6 MW Haliade 150 offshore wind turbines for the Block Island Wind Farm.
This week, Deepwater expects the first five of 15 total tower sections to arrive by ship in Providence. The 95-foot-tall sections will be off loaded at the new temporary manufacturing facility that GE is building at the Providence port.
Over the next six months, GE will install the critical electrical, mechanical, and safety equipment within the bottom tower sections – the sections that are arriving this week. The remaining tower sections will arrive in Rhode Island next year. (Each turbine tower consists of three sections, with a total height of approximately 270 feet and a total weight of approximately 440 tons, once assembled.)
Approximately 60 local workers will be involved in this aspect of the project. GE and Deepwater Wind have teamed up with several local contractors, including Aladdin Electric, Bay Crane New England, Essex Newbury, E.W. Audet & Sons, Aero Mechanical Inc., Waterson Terminal Services, GZA GeoEnvironmental, VHB and Fuss & O'Neill. Workers from the laborers, carpenters, elevator constructors, IBEW, ironworkers, plumbers and pipefitters, cement masons, operating engineers, and stevedoring unions will be involved.
The assembly activities will complement construction and staging work completed at Quonset Point, in North Kingstown, R.I. Fabrication of some of the foundation components was completed by local welders at Quonset's Specialty Diving Services in early 2015, and the port continues to host construction and repair work and vessel staging for the wind farm. Quonset will also host the project's long-term operations and maintenance facility.
Meanwhile, Deepwater Wind is capping off the first offshore construction season at the project site, roughly three miles off the coast of Block Island.
Since the first steel-in-the-water occurred in July, Deepwater has completed installation of the five steel jacket foundations and pile driving for those foundations. Installation of the deck platforms is expected to finish in the coming weeks. Submarine cable installation is scheduled to begin in spring 2016, with erection of the five offshore wind turbines set for summer 2016, the company notes. The project is scheduled to be in service and generating power in the fourth quarter of 2016.