The Block Island Times learned on Friday, Dec. 2 that turbine number two, one of five of the Block Island Wind Farm’s 6-megawatt turbines, has been damaged due to what the project’s developer is calling “human error.” Deepwater Wind, the project's developer, said the turbine will be offline temporarily, but will be operable for commercial operation in the near future.
According to Deepwater Wind, the damaged occurred during testing of the wind farm, some time after construction was completed on Aug. 18, 2016. “During recent tests, General Electric learned that as a result of human error a drill bit left inside the generator of turbine number two caused some damage.”
Deepwater Wind noted that, “GE will repair the turbine and expects to have it operational in the near term. This short delay for this turbine is not unusual. Over the course of the next 20 years, one or more turbines will be taken offline for maintenance and repairs from time to time while others are in operation.”
In other news, Deepwater Wind announced that the testing phase for the project has ended.
According to a press release issued by Deepwater Wind, "During its four-month testing phase, the Block Island Wind Farm posted some impressive performance stats. The wind farm produced its first watt of power on Sept. 12. So far, the wind farm has produced a total of more than one gigawatt-hour of energy during its testing phase.
“We’re truly proud of the wind farm’s performance to date and to have completed a successful test phase,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “The wind farm’s performance has been exceptional, even in some of the harshest weather conditions offshore. In late November, for example, the wind farm produced energy in 53 mile per-hour wind gusts.”
Deepwater Wind is now finalizing operations protocols with the New England grid operator to get final sign-off to start commercial operations. That process should be complete in the coming days, but spokesperson Meaghan Wims said on Wednesday, Dec. 7, that a specific date for the start of operations has not been set.