Deepwater Wind is creeping closer to the launch of the United States’ first offshore wind farm, to be situated some 30 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. GE Renewable Energy recently transported five enormous wind turbines and 15 massive blades across the Atlantic Ocean from France, where they were built, and delivered them near the site of the Block Island Wind Farm. The 3,300-mile journey—an incredible feat of international project management and logistics—is just one more hurdle overcome in order to meet the goal of generating clean energy by the close of this year.
Although the United States is not new territory for wind farms, Deepwater Winds’ Block Island Wind Farm will be the first in the nation to be located offshore. The project calls for construction to take place through late summer, with the wind farm generating renewable energy for the local community by the end of the year. The Block Island Wind Farm is expected to generate 125,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, providing 90 percent of power utilized on the island with a potential to supply electricity to the mainland.
Five Haliade nacelles were built at GE Renewable Energy’s new plant in Saint-Nazaire, France to be shipped to the U.S. for the wind farm. Each massive machine weighs 400 tons and is the size of a bus. It holds all the power-generating components of the wind turbine, including a massive permanent magnet generator. Each of the five nacelles will support three 240-foot-long blades weighing 27 tons apiece. All 15 blades and five nacelles docked in Rhode Island last week after their long journey via cargo ship across the Atlantic.
Eric Crucerey is the GE Renewable Energy project director in charge of delivering turbines to the site of the Block Island Wind Farm. Given the size and price tag of the wind energy farm, he takes his work very seriously. “My job is to be ready for everything, understand any weaknesses in Plan A and always have a Plan B,” he said. “’Never give up’ is my motto.” Luckily, he has numerous partners to help coordinate the project, including the folks who transported the wind turbine parts via truck, which sometimes meant building their own roads to maneuver the massive blades.
The bases for each of the five wind turbines have already been built, completed last fall. Once the turbines are mounted this August, each one will stand 330 feet (100 meters) above the water’s surface, with a total height twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, their French cousin.