What turned off the wind?
Contrary to popular belief, the island’s electricity does not cut off if the wind turbines at the Block Island Wind Farm stop turning. But that did not stop people from noticing that four of the five turbines are not moving.
Orsted spokesperson Meaghan Wims told The Times, “Our ongoing routine summer maintenance continues at the wind farm. The summer is the optimal time for maintenance, inspections and other necessary repair work.”
Wims further explained that part of the work is to repair “stress lines” in the turbines. GE, the project’s turbine supplier, first identified the stress lines, which led to Orsted putting four of the turbines on pause while they carried out a full risk assessment. This assessment showed that the turbines are structurally sound, according to Wims.
When reached for comment, a GE Renewable Energy Spokesperson relayed the following: “During routine maintenance of Haliade-150 6MW turbines, our teams discovered stress lines on some parts of the helipad support structure, which is not part of the primary nacelle frame and does not impact the structural integrity of the turbines or their ability to produce power.” GE reiterated that the repairs were being made during the normal summer maintenance program.
“We expect to complete those repairs and all maintenance in the next few weeks as scheduled,” Wims said.
Wims told The Times that Block Island is currently receiving power from National Grid on the mainland via its sea2shore cable, so there has been no interruption of service. She also said there would be no impact to ratepayers, as per Orsted’s power-purchase agreement with National Grid, no additional costs can be passed through to ratepayers.
When running at full capacity, the Block Island Wind Farm can produce 30 megawatts of electricity, which passes through a substation on island before traveling to the mainland through National Grid’s bidirectional sea2shore cable.