Company asks permit for offshore turbine
Blue H USA, a Dutch-owned company that wants to anchor floating wind turbines some 20 miles southwest of Martha's Vineyard to harness offshore ocean winds, has applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps.
The company wants to anchor a demonstration unit on the outer continental shelf approximately 23 miles off Squibnocket Point in Chilmark and about 32 miles southeast of Block Island, R.I. according to the Army Corps.
Last March, company representatives unveiled a proposal to build a floating 120-turbine offshore wind farm in 167 feet of water, the first floating deepwater wind farm of its kind in the United States. The company said it would be capable of generating 429 megawatts of power.
The announcement coincided with a federal public hearing on Cape Wind Associates plan to place 130 wind turbines on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.
Blue H has adapted the technology developed by the oil industry for offshore oil drilling platforms, according to a company press release. Unlike a conventional wind turbine that rests on a pole or tripod driven into the sea floor, Blue H utilizes a submerged deepwater platform anchored to the sea floor.
The company claims that by utilizing this technique it can take advantage of stronger and less turbulent winds and help to address issues of visual impact. Turbines can be assembled on shore and towed offshore, and they are easily dismantled.
According to the Army Corps, the demonstration unit will consist of a semi-submerged deepwater platform that is held under the water by chains that connect the floating body of the platform to a counterweight located on the sea floor.
The deepwater platform will be submerged 66 feet below mean sea level. A tower with monitoring equipment will be mounted on the platform and will stand approximately 197
feet above the surface and will be equipped with red warning lights.
"The structure," the Army Corps said, "is for demonstrating the viability of deepwater offshore wind power, but will contain data collection equipment only, no wind turbine.
The company will build the battery-powered unit in a shipyard and tow it to the site. The depth is approximately 165 feet. The demonstration unit will remain in place for a period of one year and will gather both engineering and environmental data. Data will be transmitted to a shore station via satellite Internet relay.
The parent company is Blue H Technologies BV, which has installed test turbines off the coast of Italy and is currently preparing to deploy operational units in the Adriatic Sea, according to a press release. The company has also applied for permits to install 30 wind turbines off the coast of Malta.
The offshore Vineyard site was selected because it is an area without a great deal of boat traffic and it does not sustain a fishery, Blue H USAcompany said officials last year.
The proposed project places Blue H in the center of the state and national debate over wind power. The Army Corps has made a preliminary determination that the project would not substantially affect fish habitat adversely.
Public comments on the Corps permit review (File # NAE-2007-2626) should be forwarded no later than October 15,to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division.