Chip off the Block

U.S.’s first offshore wind farm needs turbine repairs

It wouldn’t be a true ‘first’ without a few hiccups. The United States’ first offshore wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island encountered its first troubleshoot Monday in the form of a downed turbine. One of the five General Electric 6MW Haliade turbines installed at Deepwater Wind’s Block Island offshore project is reportedly down for repairs, potentially delaying the wind farm’s full commissioning.

A drill bit left behind inside the nacelle during installation was discovered during routine testing last month, but not before it had damaged magnets in the generator, according to a report in Rhode Island-based ecoRI News.

This is something the project’s many engineers, as well as its overseers and financiers, were all prepared for. The project is under GE’s maintenance program. The Haliade turbines are covered under a GE warranty, and GE will pay for the repairs, the report says. The damaged turbine is expected to be up and running again by January. Deepwater Wind did not immediately respond to questions about the warranty or the anticipated timeline for repairs. Rhode Island-based Deepwater finished constructing Block Island in August, and the project was expected to be in full commercial operation by the end of 2016. GE’s Haliade turbines were manufactured in Saint Nazaire, France, and transported to the US aboard Fred Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Tern lift vessel, according to a report from Recharge News.

The 30MW Block Island is the first offshore wind farm built in the Americas, and its success to this point has galvanized the incipient US offshore industry. Deepwater also controls a large offshore zone south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, in which it hopes to build an initial project to sell power into New York’s Long Island. Last week it emerged that Deepwater has acquired NRG’s offshore zone off the coast of Delaware, where it aims to build an initial 120MW project and sell the power into Maryland. Deepwater has also branched into onshore renewables development, and won with a 26MW(ac) solar project in a keenly watched renewables tender held recently in New England.

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