Block Island Wind Farm Completes First “Steel In The Water”


The Block Island Wind Farm has reached its ‘steel in the water’ milestone, with the installation of the first wind farm foundation component.

Deepwater Wind's offshore foundation installation contractor set the first, 400-ton steel jacket on the sea floor on Sunday, July 26, at the wind farm site, which is roughly three miles off the Block Island coast. A joint venture between Weeks Marine and Manson Construction is serving as Deepwater Wind's offshore foundation installation contractor.

On July 27, Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, D-R.I.; U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell; U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper; and the state's congressional delegation joined Deepwater Wind officials to celebrate the milestone during a ferry tour of the offshore construction site.

This first of five foundation installations kicks off a busy construction period for the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm. During the roughly eight-week construction period this summer, more than a dozen construction and transport barges, tugboats, crew ships and monitoring vessels will be active at the offshore construction site.

Vessel and crane operators, engineers, welders, scientists, protected species observers and dozens of others are all involved with the operation.

The five steel jacket foundations were fabricated at Gulf Island Fabrication Inc., which began fabrication work in late 2014 at its facilities in Houma, La. Rhode Island-based Specialty Diving Services provided fabrication work on components of the foundation substructures at its Quonset Point facility.

Submarine cable installation is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016, and erection of the five Alstom Haliade 6 MW offshore wind turbines is scheduled for the summer of 2016. The project is scheduled to be in service and generating power in the fourth quarter of 2016.

‘We know the world is watching closely what we do here, and we're incredibly proud to be at the forefront of a new American cleantech industry launching right here in the Ocean State,’ says Jeff Grybowski, CEO at Deepwater Wind. ‘This moment has been years in the making – and it's just the start of something very big.’

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