Final wind farm components en route

After being fabricated by GE in France
Fri, 07/22/2016 - 11:45am
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A large, 132-meter lift-boat vessel called the Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, Brave Tern, is beginning its first transatlantic voyage, heading for the United States and the Block Island Wind Farm site, carting five newly fabricated General Electric Renewable Energy brand Haliade 150-6 megawatt nacelles. The Brave Tern will be traveling 3,300 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from France before anchoring at Goat Island in Narragansett Bay.  

“The nacelles will be the final wind farm components to arrive,” Deepwater Wind spokesperson Meaghan Wims told The Block Island Times on Tuesday, July 19. Deepwater Wind is the energy company that is constructing the Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm being built in the United States.

The Haliade 150 nacelles, which weigh 370 tons apiece and house the component’s generator, gearbox, drive train, and brake assembly, were fabricated by GE Renewable Energy at its manufacturing facility in St. Nazaire, France. Alstom, the French company originally contracted by Deepwater Wind to fabricate the nacelles, sold its power division to GE for $10 billion in November of 2015.

The nacelle is the component that sits atop the 270-foot tall wind turbine tower where the 246-foot long rotor blades are affixed and includes a helicopter hoisting platform. Technicians and their equipment can be delivered from a helicopter to the platform to service the wind turbines.

The Brave Tern, owned and operated by Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, a marine service company with offices in five countries, arrived at the dock near the GE manufacturing facility in France on Tuesday, July 12, and technicians immediately began the process of loading the nacelles. 

Brave Tern is now ready for her first transatlantic voyage,” said Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s Vessel Master Tony Cato. “We will be sailing via the Azores and Bermuda to take advantage of the favorable winds and ocean currents, before reaching the east coast of the United States, and anticipating arriving in two-and-a-half weeks.”

According to the company, Brave Tern is the largest offshore lift-boat vessel to make port in France. Cato’s arrival estimate for the vessel, cruising at a transit speed of 12 knots, would have it arriving during the first week of August.

During the trip, the nacelles will reside on specially manufactured platforms on the Brave Tern’s deck so ocean water can pass beneath them, reducing the chance of damaging the gears inside of the casing. Upon arrival at the wind farm site, the Brave Tern, which has four stabilizing legs, will utilize an 800-ton crane to begin construction of the Block Island Wind Farm’s turbine towers.

Deepwater Wind is targeting the fourth quarter for the wind farm to be operational. The wind farm will have 30 megawatts of capacity, and the capability of producing 125,000 megawatt hours of electricity, enough to provide electric power to 5,000 households every year.