‘Steel in the water:’ Vineyard Wind begins on-site installation

The heavy lift vessel Orion is on site of the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project. The cranes on the boat will help install 62 turbines. —Courtesy Vineyard Wind

Vineyard Wind announced yesterday that work installing the first turbine towers and transition pieces has started on the offshore wind farm. 

The heavy-lift vessel Orion arrived onsite recently, and will work with a team of ships throughout the summer installing 62 foundations in the wind development area.

“We can finally say it — as of today, there is ‘steel in the water,’” Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller is quoted in a release that went out on Wednesday. “Over the next few months, we’ll be working hand in glove with the building trades and our contractors to ensure the work is done safely and efficiently. I want to thank all of our stakeholders and the entire Vineyard Wind team for this remarkable achievement on this first-in-the-nation project.”

The 800-megawatt project is located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, and is expected to generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the state.

The Orion vessel, which has reportedly been seen from Nantucket this week, is equipped with a 5,000-ton crane that can lift parts nearly 600 feet. It is based in Belgium. According to Ship Technology magazine, the vessel is more than 600 meters long, and helped to install turbines for a project in Germany last year called the Arcadis Ost 1 Wind Farm.

Components for the turbines began arriving in the port of New Bedford at the end of May, at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. 

The tower sections — the base of the turbine that’s placed on top of a yellow transition piece — will be assembled in New Bedford before they are shipped out to be installed.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey is quoted in the release saying that the project will be bringing clean, reliable energy to the state. “We’re thrilled to see this historic project move one step closer to completion, and committed to supporting the offshore wind industry across the state,” she said.

As part of the installation process, Vineyard Wind has also deployed the OSV Atlantic Oceanic and the Northstar Navigator to deploy a bubble curtain. A bubble curtain, which is composed of perforated hoses and air compressors, is designed to absorb and dampen sound during installation. 

Vineyard Wind officials say that the hoses are placed on the seafloor around the turbine towers before being filled by compressed air. They say that once the hoses are inflated, the air escapes through the perforations and creates a barrier of bubbles that reduces noise.

Three local fishing vessels, the F/V Torbay, F/V Socatean, and the F/V Kathryn Marie, will be onsite to serve as safety and communication sentries.
The project is also deploying a passive acoustic monitoring system that will look for the presence of marine mammals by detecting vocalizations. The buoys will be deployed and retrieved by the F/V Beth Anne.


    • Don, with all the stink you put up saying the turf field isn’t recyclable, when it has been proven it can and will be, I find your support of the wind project puzzling. The turbine blades are not recyclable. https://cen.acs.org/environment/recycling/companies-recycle-wind-turbine-blades/100/i27

      These blades are ending up in landfills, “And the scale of the recycling problem is large and growing. The cumulative mass of decommissioned blades in the US will reach 1.5 million metric tons (t) by 2040 and 2.2 million t by 2050, according to a recently published study by Aubryn Cooperman, a wind energy analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and coworkers (Resour., Conserv. Recycl. 2021, DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105439). Globally, the mass of all the blades expected to be retired by 2050 may be as high as 43 million t, according to a study led by Barlow (Waste Manage. 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2017.02.007).”

      I am for renewable energy but it isn’t as clean as people think and it does have it’s drawbacks. Hopefully, as you read the article, a process will be created to solve this issue, as we have also said about the turf field recycling plant being built in the US.

      • Patrick– thank you for the link about recycling the blades.
        I’m not sure if that was the one you wanted to send to support your argument, but it sure does seem like they are doing a pretty good job of recycling them. I particularly liked the picture of kids playing on them in a park. That brings us to one of my points that they can be used for all sorts of things. We see the playground– they look like a skateboarders dream.
        They could be used as culverts, dune protection, seawalls, artificial reefs, and the like. They float if you cap the ends, and could be used as recreational platforms on lakes and rivers where people swim.
        They could be used as platforms for aquaculture. The possibilities are endless. But if the creatively impaired among us insist that they be buried for some reason, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Goodale family to really cash in.
        Eventually they will not be able to mine sand there. They can only go so beep before they hit the water table, and they have nowhere to expand on the surface. Their pit is large enough to accommodate thousands of these things. Since they are hollow, we could put our low grade crushed glass — which is basically sand— inside them and around them rather than ship it off island at considerable cost.
        A few hundred years years from now, it may actually be approaching the surrounding grade, and we could have a few nice football fields there.
        Grass ones, of course.

      • Patrick, like so many things we have thrown out in the past turbine blades will become recyclable.
        Boxboard is an example.
        And cars.

        • Recycling processes require energy.

          Some require a LOT of energy.

          The EROEI of the wind turbines—which must of course include ALL of the energy inputs to manufacture, emplace, maintain, dismantle, move, and then recycle in some way—comes out a negative. Many calculations have come up with the same sad denouement.

          • This is awful.
            We have to stop hurting the oceans.
            The Island must produce all it’s electricity on Island.
            No big scary turbines in the water.
            Not fat vibrating cables in the water that kill whales.

          • Of course, Kate, any honest appraisal of this project and others like it ends with your assessment. But these days feeling good about the stated impact of something seems to trump the actual impact. Results are less important or not important at all.

          • Katherine– That issue has been thoroughly studied and analyzed. Of course, it’s a bit tricky, but, as with many things, people dedicate their lives to figuring out how much carbon is not produced by things like boxed wine vs bottled wine.
            At this point they also have powerful computer programs to assist with the calculations.
            I think it would be pretty easy for us to intuitively agree that a box of wine that contains as much wine as 5 bottles would, from start to finish have a lower energy footprint.

            So there are a few unique nuances about windmills.
            For instance, if 40 years from now, the monopoles of the V.W project get recycled, where does the energy calculation change from being part of V.W to whatever product is being manufactured from that recycled steel ?
            By the way, the costs associated with decommissioning V.W are already part of the cost analysis. The current plan is to cut them off 10 ft below the seabed.
            One interesting trend in western Europe (where these monopiles are made) is that they have an abundance of off peak electricity generated by their windfarms. They use this excess electrical capacity to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing sea water.
            The hydrogen is then burned to smelt and process the steel into monopoles and other various components. A significant reduction in carbon emissions as it all comes from clean energy. No pollution from the burning of the hydrogen.
            So after a thorough analysis it turns out that wind is far from negative on the ERoEI calculations.
            In fact, Vineyard Wind One is anticipated to offset it’s entire carbon footprint for construction it’s first year of operation.
            Per KWH produced over it’s lifespan it typically is 98 % less carbon intense than natural gas.
            It does take energy to build a gas plant after all.
            Please read this:
            Thanks for bringing this subject up.

          • Katherine you are absolutely correct on the EROEI calculations. Electricity in Denmark is very expensive because you need fossil fuels to back up when there is no wind and no sun. Boxed wine has nothing to with it as some researchers think.

        • Don: The issue has been extensively studied, but manly of the results of this study are not part of the mainstream narrative.

          Re “At this point they also have powerful computer programs to assist with the calculations.”

          Computer models are not reality. When the models are not backed up by realiity (for instance models predicting temp increases), unfortunately reality is kicked out of the discussion in favor of fearmongering.

          Many highly qualified scientists have come to quite different conclusions concerning the reliability of models used to predict climate change—for instance, the actual role of CO2 in putative AGW. The new axiom is the same as the old one: Garbage in, garbage out.

          Theories about AGW are just that: THEORIES.

          • so we should just dismiss all theories ?
            Electricity and all the various concepts that go with it are theoretical, but we see the results.
            You are correct about computer models predicting temperature increases. Unfortunately for us, they have consistently errored on the low side. But they have have consistently predicted temperature increases , just not as quickly as the observable reality.
            Of course, some people think that millions of “so called scientist” and meteorologist are involved in a world wide conspiracy to report higher readings than their machines are actually recording.
            And so it goes.
            I’m curious as to why you have never taken me up on my long standing bet about higher global temperature.
            In case you missed it, I was giving ten to one odds that the average temperature will be one of the top ten warmest since modern day recordings.
            Just to keep it friendly, I will put up $100 to your $10.
            I usually only offer it in January, as I would have an unfair advantage to offer it say in mid June, because we can see that is already true for 1/2 of the year.
            But in your case, I will make an exception, because you seem to really know what you are talking about.

    • But mercury, cadmium and other heavy metals that have contaminated the oceans along with the tuna and swordfish we used to eat due to acid rain from coal-fired power plants…?
      What say you?

      • Follow the amount of money confiscated from tax payers which goes to support the project, in all of its aspects, factor in the confiscation of the entire column of ocean water surrounding the project, tally it up for the life of the project and the legacy costs to dismantle and/or replace the project passed on to taxpayers, and then the play on words “steel” to “steal” will become apparent.

        • Last year while the right wing nuts were blaming Biden for the high price of gas, the oil industry got their annual $20 Billion dollar subsidy of our taxpayer money despite the fact that they were raking in record profits to the tune of nearly $200 billion.
          but it seems the sheeples were too busy putting lille stickers on gas pumps blaming Biden to notice.
          And what does ” the entire column of ocean water surrounding the project ” mean ? The entire surface area of the 62 towers and transfer station is less than one acre.
          Also, the legacy cost and the cost of future decommissioning are built into the financial framework of the project.
          Call It “whataboutism” if you will, but the taxpayers ARE actually on the hook for the decommissioning of the Pilgrim nuclear power
          plant. And let’s not forget, they want to dump 11 million gallons of radioactive water into cape cod bay. What about the whales ????
          Taxpayers will never be on the hook to take down a wind farm.

          • Keller, the oil companies don’t ask for the subsidies, they get them from the government freely. They shouldn’t get them but they do. I use all the legal tax breaks the government gives me dont you? Maybe not. Is it safe to swim in radioactive water?
            Showering, bathing, or swimming in water with the amount of radioactive material that is currently being measured will not harm your health.

    • “More like “steal” in the water.”

      You can say that again.

      For a detailed discussion of the shortcomings of current EROEI calculations connected with solar and wind, see https://ourfiniteworld.com/2023/06/02/models-hide-the-shortcomings-of-wind-and-solar/

      So where are the subsidized “profits” of Vineyard Wind, “an offshore wind development company 50 percent owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP),” headed?
      Think Danish pensioners.

      “Our investors comprise more than 140 prominent institutional investors, primarily pension funds and life insurance companies and also including endowments and family offices. Our investor base is global but our funds to date predominantly have investors from across the Nordics, Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) and elsewhere in continental Europe, with select investors from the US, the UK and Asia Pacific (APAC).”

      Uh-huh. Maybe these pension funds in “the Nordics” will send some new replacement whales to the US Continental Shelf.

      • Katherine–your link about OROEI calculations is great.
        I read every word. It is well written and really highlights the complexities about such calculations.
        But there are some points I am not so convinced about.
        For starters, the author is focused more on the money aspect than the actual energy in energy out calculation, and lumps all renewables together, bringing the average down.
        In terms of OROEI calculations wind is far ahead of solar and other renewables. We are talking about wind here….
        He states that in off peak hours, other forms of electrical generation are pushed to the back of the line and therefore become less efficient, raising the relative inequity of the OROEI calculations which are ,I am sure, often ignored.
        Speaking of ignoring, he completely ignores the carbon footprint of what will be needed to deal with climate change. If we load those OROEI onto the side of fossil fuels, the comparison is off the charts in winds favor.
        He also talks about the high carbon expense of battery storage.
        I am of the opinion that the direct usage of electricity during off peak can be substantially increased. Off peak metering is one way to do it. Electric water heaters for instance could be in use only on off peak hours. A 40 or 50 gallon water tank will likely meet all needs if it is shut off for a few hours in the morning and the early evening. Price incentives can change behavior.
        Also, with the rising numbers of electric vehicles, charging overnight when demand is low is the only real alternative. Those vehicle batteries could even possibly put power back into the grid during peak times in some instances.
        Things like large mobile battery packs for things such as ferries could also be charged off peak. More electrolysis to produce hydrogen is also a clean option for what to do with excess electricity.
        As I have said, nothing is ideal. I sincerely thank you for a reasonable link.

        And there is a reason most capital investment in wind is from Europe and Asia –about every 4 years the policy about any kind of clean energy in the U.S changes.
        Now if only we could get people to quit blaming wind farms for whale deaths.

        • “He”?
          The author and the owner of the Our Finite World blog is Gail Tverberg.
          EROEI is about actual energy.
          I believe energy is measured in Joules.
          Not money.
          Of course, energy has to be paid for one way or another.

          • Those pesky pronouns.
            Correct about joules.
            But how we produce those Joules is the point of this discussion.
            The carbon and various other emissions associated with the production of those Joules should not be ignored.
            Yes, we could all burn our used tires in our basements to warm ourselves during the winter, but there are considerations other than just the Joules.

    Dolefully and lamentably,
    The Whales
    All who live in the sea
    and all of us who love GAIA.

    • Martha. I understand that you are concerned about the whales– so am I.
      But I have yet to see any evidence anywhere in the world that wind farms are hurting or killing whales, or any marine mammals for that matter.
      Quite the contrary actually, The thousands of monopoles that have been in the water for years serve as artificial reefs which are attracting entirely new ecosystems that are flourishing with a diverse abundance of marine life.
      That is what is actually happening. We see it, the creatures are alive there and flourishing.
      That is the reality.
      If you can show me with verifiable facts that wind farms are injuring and killing life in the ocean, I will certainly look at it, and be right there with you to protest them.
      Whales washing up on the beaches of the east coast of the U.S that have clearly been struck by ships or died from being entangled in fishing gear are not the fault of wind farms.
      Here is a detailed analysis of every right whale death and serious injury that we have been able to detect since 2017.

      Please look at the table at the top of the top of the page.
      Of the 98 incidents, 16 involved vessel strikes — the leading cause of death, and 60 involve entanglement in fishing gear. None — nada– zero from wind farms.
      If we really want to protect whales, we have to focus on the actual causes of death, and not an irrational unfounded fear of windmills.
      They might have their share of problems, but killing whales is not one of them.

    • A pox on the oil companies, their drilling pollutes the oceans, their tankers kill whales.
      A pox on electricity.
      The existing cables to the Island could vibrate, some people think that they could possibly kill whales.

  2. Diminishi
    ng a pristene marine ecosystem in the name of environmentalism does not make sense

    • Roger– We have an issue with the environment. Mainly that we are systematically destroying it. Much of that destruction is the result of our thirst for energy.
      We are meeting that insatiable demand primarily by burning fossil fuels.
      We know that we are altering the climate. The consequences of that are not restricted to land.
      The oceans are getting warmer. This leads to more intense hurricanes that cause serious damage in estuaries and coastal wetlands as well as rising sea levels that are altering those coastal nurseries. It also is the cause of world wide bleaching events that are killing coral reefs, the heart of the marine ecosystem. The ocean is also getting more acidic, which will undoubtedly have consequences we cannot accurately predict. And forget the destruction and pollution caused by drilling for oil in the ocean.
      There are, by the way, over 26,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines in the gulf of Mexico alone.
      There is no effort or plan to ever remove any of them from the seafloor.
      When the pumps stop, the oil in them stays there until the pipes rust and release the oil into the ocean.
      At an average diameter of 2 ft, that means we will be leaving about 32 million gallons of oil to inevitably leak into the gulf of Mexico.
      But some here say our descendants will just take care of it all. Yup– that’s why young people are turning out by the millions to protest that concept.

      So what do we do ? It’s not likely we are just going to stop using energy.
      Fusion is decades away from commercial viability.
      If you watch some of the videos that I have posted here, you will see wind farms are relatively benign.
      Drive poles into the seafloor, dig a trench , bury the lines and let the wind blow.

      It’s not ideal. It has its problems, but it seems better than the current non plan.

      • and yet another typo from me, not expecting the number to be so so big, i hadn’t formatted the numbers on my spread sheet to have commas before I hit the send button– So my math was correct but I didn’t realise it was 32 BILLION gallons of oil left in the pipes, not 32 MILLION.
        I was off by a factor of a thousand. My apologies.

    • It is time the Island stopped killing whales with wind turbines and vibrating electric cables.
      We must generate all of our electricity on Island.
      A small nuke plant in the useless scrub oak will do it.

  3. Haven’t read a word in the local papers about the longshoreman strike in New Bedford stopping Vineyard Wind from unloading their supplies. They totally have not lived up to their promises for good paying union jobs. Typical forgotten promises by the Far Left. I’m not shocked.

    • It’s been all over the regional news.
      There is no shortage of good paying, highly skilled, union jobs for boat operators, heavy lift operators, mechanics, electricians, welders, and engineers.
      The union on strike is a sad little operation that unloads about a geared ship a month in New Bedford.
      The longshore’men’ are not allowed aboard the ships.
      The highest skill level is fork truck operator.
      The strike has been settled.
      The union got some show up and hang out slots.
      I am shocked by your support of union featherbedding.

    • John– I am hopeful that we can at least agree that the Martha’s Vineyard Times is a “local” paper.
      I don’t expect that you will read every word that the Times prints, but you should not criticize them when they actually report something, and you just miss it. If you are going to make an allegation, you should really take at least a cursory glance .
      note the paragraph in this article that states
      “Meanwhile, there is a work stoppage at the New Bedford waterfront, with reports from CAI radio in Woods Hole that the stoppage could delay further shipments and parts arriving in the city. Other unions on the waterfront have joined, and have stopped work. ”
      By the way– The Vineyard Gazette also mentioned it, as did WCAI — that local liberal NPR station.
      And exactly what does “the far left” have to do with anything?
      Do you know how much the longshoremen were getting paid before V.W. had something arrive in New Bedford ?
      Do you know the pay rate for people who actually work for V.W. ?
      I suppose you think all the unionized workers there got their pay slashed when V.W came along ?
      Is it the “far left” that sets the rate of pay for everyone ?
      Did they set the pay rate the last time the union negotiated a contract ?
      Is this windfarm even a left/right issue ?
      One thing for sure John, your uninformed comment here shows your willingness to just blame the “far left” for everything, even if “they” have nothing to do with whatever it is you are ranting about.
      I’m not shocked.

  4. Yeah the far left is responsible for pretty much anything that goes wrong in this country. Tireless research stuffed with exuberant verbosity makes ones eyes glaze over.

  5. Keller the wind farms drive the whales crazy and cause them to get disoriented and get entangled in nets or to get struck by ships dont you know? The noise from the wind farms disturbs the sonic system whales have. I got this from NPR, MSNBC and Counterpunch.

    • And myriad scientific studies.
      Actually, low-frequency sound waves drive humans crazy, too.
      Not to mention constant pounding.
      We can put our hands over our ears to blunt the pounding, but there is no such escape from low-frequency sound waves. They travel through the body to the brain, as opposed to entering the auditory system through the ears alone.

  6. John,

    Do you really think that Vineyard Wind is a left organization? If you do think so, I have a very nice, but older bridge in Brooklyn….

  7. When the math for Keller on energy doesnt work he throws in the ”cost of climate change” which is supposed to make everything balance out. This is known as a fudge factor.
    A fudge factor is an element inserted into a calculation, formula or model to allow for error or uncertainty. Fudge factors are also used to make something congruent with an observed or desired result. The word fudge, in this context, means to be intentionally unclear or imprecise.

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