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.