Deepwater Wind Set for Seafloor Survey Off New England
America’s offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind is deploying a survey vessel and dozens of experts as part of a new phase of work on its South Fork Wind Farm and Revolution Wind projects.
The start of this five-month long suite of offshore surveys at Deepwater Wind’s federal lease site off New England will begin with the work of a 132-foot specialized liftboat and a support vessel, plus 25 local personnel, including geotechnical specialists, engineers, biologists, archaeologists and mariners.
Their work will help inform the design and locations of the turbines at the South Fork Wind Farm and Revolution Wind.
“We’re embarking on this major scientific endeavor so we can better understand the seafloor where we’ll build these next wind farms,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, Deepwater Wind CEO. “When we’re done, we’ll know more about this part of the ocean than ever before. Local laborers, mariners and scientists will help us get the job done.”
Area Piledrivers from Local 56 were busy last week at Specialty Diving Services’ quayside at Quonset Point preparing components on the Seacor liftboat Supporter, which traveled from the Gulf of Mexico for the job.
Deepwater Wind commissioned the Providence, R.I. office of the engineering design firm GZA to perform this survey – the same local team who completed this work for the Block Island Wind Farm. GZA experts will oversee offshore sampling operations and then conduct the geotechnical analysis on these samples.
The 104-foot offshore support vessel Matthew Hughes will carry equipment and personnel back and forth from Quonset Point to the Supporter. Together, the vessels will be busy with geotechnical surveying offshore for the next month or so.
Deepwater Wind’s studies will continue this fall, with additional geophysical surveys between September and December to support the development of the South Fork and Revolution Wind farms.
Deepwater Wind will conduct a specialized high-resolution geophysical survey of the site to identify any boulders buried in the seafloor. This highly specialized survey will inform the specific location of turbines. In addition, Deepwater has commissioned a separate team of experts to conduct a large-scale geophysical survey at the site.
A full suite of high-tech survey technology will be used in the geotechnical and geophysical surveys, including sonar, magnetometers and tools to measure the depth and slope of the seafloor. Marine biologists aboard will use monitoring systems and thermal imaging cameras to alert the team of any marine mammals in the area, Deepwater Wind explained.
The South Fork Wind Farm and Revolution Wind projects are located in Deepwater Wind’s federal lease site, more than 15 miles south of the Rhode Island coast and more than 30 miles off Montauk, N.Y.
Once permits are in-hand, local construction work on the 90-megawatt (MW) South Fork Wind Farm would begin in 2021, with the wind farm in operations in 2022.
Construction would start as early as 2020 on the 400 MW of power from Revolution Wind to serve Rhode Island, and in 2021 on the 200 MW of power from Revolution Wind to serve Connecticut. Revolution Wind is planned to begin operations in 2023.
A similar survey effort is already underway off the coasts of Maryland and Delaware to inform the design and construction of Deepwater Wind’s 120 MW Skipjack Wind Farm.