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The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

Posted November 18, 2016 5:00 PM by MaggieMc

The Block Island Wind Farm, the nation’s first offshore wind farm, just recently passed into a phase “where they will need to be monitored to ensure they are functioning properly” prior to the wind farm going online. This project has combined many companies throughout the country to support its needs. In the case of monitoring, Duke Energy Renewables will be taking care of providing “around-the-clock ‘remote monitoring and control services, data acquisition, and performance analysis and reporting’” for the newly finished wind farm.

The project, undertaken by Providence, Rhode Island’s Deepwater Wind, consists of five wind turbines about three miles off the shore of Block Island. Soon, the power generation for this small island will mark a large milestone in offshore wind farms—a US farm.

The construction of the wind farm experienced a rocky start—literally—as “uneven and rocky underwater geology” as well as weather combined to slow the foundation building. Installing the wind turbines on the foundations went more smoothly, in part due to the use of liftboats Caitlyn and Paul, owned by Montco Offshore, and the Brave Tern, a 433 ft. liftboat from Norway. Previously, the Brave Tern had installed “200 offshore wind turbines in Europe, including a similarly large Haliade in Belgian waters two years ago.”

The fifth turbine was installed August 18th, and christened by Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski in a tweet: “The #BlockIslandWindFarm is now fully constructed. 1st in US.”

However, in an interview, Grybowski notes that their job isn’t done: “The goal wasn’t just to build something, but to build something that produces energy. And I think the steps remaining are very achievable, but I don’t want to lose focus on that.”

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#1

Re: The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

11/18/2016 5:34 PM

This is good news--a lot of these projects peter out long before this stage.

Some background reading, for interested parties:

http://insights.globalspec.com/article/2397/first-u-s-offshore-wind-farm-begins-to-take-shape

http://insights.globalspec.com/article/1599/u-s-offshore-wind-moves-forward-at-a-crawl

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#2

Re: The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

11/18/2016 8:33 PM

Will it save us?

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Re: The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

11/18/2016 10:12 PM

At $290 million dollars to install a maximum output of 30 megawatts it's 'saving' someone.

For the economically disadvantaged people of Block Island, this project also includes a subsea cable tying the island to the mainland so when the wind doesn't blow, they can get their electricity from the grid rather than depend upon diesel generation. They also get optical fiber in the deal so they can get much better data rates than is typical with terrestrial microwave or satellite.

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#4
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Re: The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

11/20/2016 10:47 AM

The $/KWH for consumers I've heard on the media suggest to me that this source of electricity would not be viable in very many places. Seems like it is a fit for Block Island residents. Expensive electricity is better than none at all.

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Re: The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

11/20/2016 1:51 PM

Current electricity prices for Block Island is about $0.50 per kW-hr. The same as it is in Kauai. Both of those islands use diesel generators to produce electricity. Block Island could have spent the money to just put in a subsea cable to get power from the mainland grid. And with this windfarm, the project put in a subsea cable to tie in to the grid to sell excess power for $0.24 per kW-hr. This will also allow Block Island to draw power from the grid when the wind don't blow.

It will be interesting to see what the power rates are for Block Island residents once these turbines are up and running. The cynic in me thinks they'll still pay about $0.50 per kW-hr.

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#5

Re: The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

11/20/2016 1:42 PM

Plus they can get a limit of birds, at he same time...

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#7

Re: The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

11/20/2016 8:19 PM

“The goal wasn’t just to build something, but to build something that produces energy. And I think the steps remaining are very achievable, but I don’t want to lose focus on that.”

What a worthy goal for an energy producer.

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#8

Re: The Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

12/12/2016 3:22 PM

Columbia Weather Systems is proud to be providing weather stations for this project!

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