Coast Guard executes ‘first in the nation’ wind turbine drill


The U.S. Coast Guard executed a search and rescue exercise atop one of the Block Island Wind Farm wind turbines on June 24, a first. The “first in the nation” exercise was done with a Jayhawk helicopter, and was meant to “assess operations near and from offshore wind turbines, practicing new techniques to stay ready, relevant, and responsive in this emerging space,” according to Petty Officer Nicole Groll. The exercise occurred in coordination with Orsted and General Electric, Groll wrote in an email. No release was issued following the exercise, Groll noted; however, First District Northeast posted video of the exercise on August 21. 

“We anticipate additional exercises in coordination with Orsted and General Electric in the future,” she wrote. Groll told The Times she couldn’t speak to whether or not future exercises would involve spinning turbines. 

Groll said the turbine was switched off for the exercise: “Basically, if we have an emergency that will involve turning off the turbine[s], we will call the people in charge of turning them off, and they will stop and lock them in place.”

The same shutoff capability will be a feature of Vineyard Wind’s turbines. “The turbines will be shut down at the request of the USCG, when necessary,” Vineyard Wind spokesman Scott Farmelant wrote.