WNPR

Block Island Wind Farm Enters Final Construction Phase

Aug 17, 2016
Originally published on August 18, 2016 8:24 am

Four of five turbines that will produce energy off the coast of Block Island later this fall have been completely installed.

If the weather cooperates, the fifth will also be up by the end of the week, said GE Offshore Wind CEO Anders Soe-Jensen during a small media boat tour yesterday of Deepwater Wind's Block Island Wind Farm.

“When the installation is done, then we are going to do the commissioning, where they are connecting all the wires inside,” said Soe-Jensen. “And then we are starting to spin the turbines. But as for the installation, things have been going like clockwork. It’s all been working out wonderfully.”

Soe-Jensen has been working in Europe’s offshore wind industry for 10 years. He said it used to take up to two weeks to install one wind turbine alone. Now the industry has it down to under a day.

Soe-Jensen thinks the United States has the right infrastructure and skills to build offshore wind farms, but if an industry wants to invest in building a factory to make blades here, rather than importing them from abroad, then “the industry needs to see a pipeline in the U.S. in terms of a number of projects.”

He said he’s encouraged Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation that requires utilities in Massachusetts to get 1,600 megawatts of power from offshore wind farms by 2027. That's enough to power more than a million homes and the kind of commitment the industry needs to grow, said Soe-Jensen.

“What happened in Massachusetts with the new legislation, where we can see things are happening here, makes it more interesting to make those considerations [to invest],” he said. 

Copyright 2017 Rhode Island Public Radio. To see more, visit Rhode Island Public Radio.