Wind farm components en route

Deepwater Wind targets mid-July arrival
Thu, 07/02/2015 - 8:15am

What was once portrayed only in artist's renderings and computer-generated imagery is fast becoming something real.

Foundations for each of the five wind turbines for the Block Island Wind Farm have been built at Gulf Island Fabrications in Houma, Louisiana, a company known for building some of the largest offshore oil platforms in the world.

Gulf Island met its target timeframe of the end of June for delivering the five iron-jacket foundations, according to the public relations firm Duffy & Shanley. The wind farm will be located three miles off the southeast coast of Block Island.  

The first loadout from Gulf Island Fabrication was completed on the weekend of June 26-27. The first two jacket foundations and one of the decks have been loaded on a transport barge and will begin the journey up the East Coast. The next stop: Block Island. 

The barge will arrive at the offshore site in mid-to-late July. The total weight for the first loadout, consisting of jackets and piles for foundations one and two, and for deck one, is 6 million pounds. Each foundation weighs approximately 1,500 tons.

Once the components arrive, the foundation assembly process will commence. Each foundation will be assembled in two main sections: the jacket and the deck. The jacket foundation, which will stand 110 feet tall, will be anchored to the seafloor by pilings that will be driven 150 into the seabed. The deck, that is 60 feet in height, will be affixed atop the jacket foundation.  

Several days in advance of the materials transport barge's arrival, the first vessel to arrive at the project's offshore site will be a Weeks Marine installation barge with crane. The installation barge will start by setting up mooring buoys. The buoys will delineate locations for the materials barge to park at the offshore site during the foundation assembly process.

Over the ensuing weeks, additional installation vessels, material transport barges, tug boats and crew vessels will arrive as more work continues. 

Deepwater Wind has said that the company will unveil the Block Island Wind Farm in the fall of 2016.