Human Error Causes Turbine Damage At Block Island Wind Farm


Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm, set to enter commercial operations very shortly, recently hit a snag when one of the project’s turbine generators sustained damage after a drill bit was left inside.

The developer confirms to North American Windpower that GE discovered the problem during recent testing of the project, situated off the coast of Block Island, R.I.

The 30 MW Block Island Wind farm comprises five 6 MW Haliade 150 offshore wind turbines, supplied by GE. According to a press release from Deepwater, each turbine tower consists of three sections with a total height of approximately 270 feet and a total weight of approximately 440 tons.

Just the other day, Deepwater Wind revealed that the project, which will be the U.S.’ first offshore wind farm, would be entering commercial operations “in a matter of days,” following a four-month testing phase.

Despite the recent human error, the company notes that a “short delay for this turbine is not unusual,” and GE expects to have the machine up and running “in the near term.” (Deepwater brings up the fact one or more turbines will regularly be out of service due to scheduled maintenance over the 20-year lifetime of the project.)

In fact, the developer maintains that commercial operations will still take place shortly, and the project will start powering Block Island “in the coming days.”

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Steve Copeland
Steve Copeland
6 years ago

Is there any further specifics on this incident that you may have information on? Citing “a drill bit left in the turbine generator” is pretty vague. Was it a manufacturer issue or an onsite contractor issue that led to this damage? I’m curious because my utility has several wind farms we own and also several we have PPA’s with. I would like to share this information as a safety/training note to my employees but this article leaves everything quite vague. Thank you and I do enjoy the information you send concerning the wind industry. It helps me out with my… Read more »

Shiana Tea (MUM MBA Student - Sustainable Technologies Class)
Shiana Tea (MUM MBA Student - Sustainable Technologies Class)
6 years ago

Thanks for the article Betsy.

On the note from Deepwater: “Deepwater brings up the fact one or more turbines will regularly be out of service due to scheduled maintenance over the next 20 years.”

Is the wind farm estimated life 20 years?
What is the estimated maintenance period per turbine per year? Or what’s the availability of the equipment per year?
What is the efficiency of each turbine? (The Betz limit estimates a maximum efficiency of 59.26% on wind turbines)

Any comments are very much appreciated!