Case Study: Block Island Offshore Wind Farm
The Block Island Offshore Wind Farm is a project developed by GE Renewable Energy. The company chose Endiprev as a partner to assist in the commissioning and maintenance services on the first offshore wind project in the United States.
While several European countries were already well acquainted with the benefits of offshore wind power, the United States was lagging behind on that field. However, the country changed its course on the offshore wind industry, when Deepwater Wind had the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm up and running, in December 2016. The first offshore wind project in the U.S. had five GE Haliade H150-6MW wind turbine generators installed three miles south-east of the island. Endiprev was considered a partner with a profound knowledge of the GE Haliade H150, as well as having a vast experience in the wind power business.
Endiprev’s success and expertise in the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm were due to the knowledge we had about Haliade H150, since the inception of the product in 2012. Altogether, our teams have already worked more than 65,000 work hours in these wind turbine generators, until 2017. Technicians from the company worked around the clock together with GE Renewable Energy to get the offshore wind farm running, even during the pre-commissioning phase. We worked on and supervised the production and the assembly of the nacelles on the factory, in France, until they arrived in the United States.
During the installation of the five GE Haliade H150 wind turbine generators, Endiprev’s technicians performed mechanical and electrical completion tasks to assure the service was delivered to the customer with the highest accuracy standard.
Endiprev’s team had, in fact, proven expertise on the GE Haliade H150 like no other. We were involved in the test and validation phase of the H150 platform’s prototype, in Le Carnet (France), and we performed all tests to certify the wind turbine generator. With this profound knowledge, combined with the pre-commissioning on this project, our team was able to solve several issues encountered on the commissioning phase of the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm. This phase also consisted of doing a full test run and remote monitoring of the generator.
OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE
Six months after the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm commissioning, Endiprev performed a major repair operation, exchanging 26 magnets in the turbine. The company was also responsible for performing the on-site preventive and corrective maintenance from January 2017 to September 2017.
Endiprev selected a team of technicians with a high level of experience in the GE Haliade H150 and offshore commissioning in Europe, with a zero-accident record, which was exclusively assigned to this project. The 24 technicians worked more than 15,000 hours on the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm, between the commissioning and the maintenance work. Once it was three miles from land, Endiprev team did the daily commute from the wind farm to Providence Port, rather than staying on the Service Operation Vessel, like usually happens.
As the offshore wind is still a young industry in the United States, the country doesn’t have yet specialized domestic infrastructures to operate in these projects, needing to subcontract these services to other countries. Due to the Merchant Marine Act (known as the “Jones Act”), which demands the transport of people or goods between American ports be made by ships built, owned, and operated by American citizens, this was a complex challenge we had to overcome on the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm, otherwise threatening the viability of the entire operation. Therefore, the vessel that transported the GE Haliade H150 wind turbines had to stay offshore during the commissioning.
The Block Island Offshore Wind Farm, now owned by Ørsted, was a demonstration project and what started the development of the offshore wind industry in the United States. After the success of this project, there are about 30 offshore wind projects being developed in the country.