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Six turbine blades arrive in New Bedford; more offshore wind components on the way

Workers outside a scallop packing facility in New Bedford had a close-up view of the wind turbine blades.
Jennette Barnes
Workers outside a scallop packing facility in New Bedford had a close-up view of the wind turbine blades.

The ship that brought the first six turbine blades for Vineyard Wind to New Bedford departed this morning after two days in port.

The heavy-load vessel Rolldock Sky is headed back to Gaspé, Québec, where it will pick up more blades from a General Electric factory on the Canadian coast, north of Nova Scotia. Additional blades will be coming from Cherbourg, France.

On the New Bedford waterfront, workers stacked the blades three high on the far side of the offshore wind terminal, where they will wait to be ferried out to the wind farm starting this summer.

Meanwhile, Vineyard Wind announced yesterday that installation of foundations for the 62 offshore wind turbines has begun about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Each foundation consists of a monopile — a steel tube — driven into the seabed, with a connector, known as a transition piece, installed on top. Turbine towers will be connected to the transition pieces.

An installation vessel more than 700 feet long, the Orion, is stationed at the site. Local union piledrivers are working with the existing crew of the Belgian-flagged ship, according to Vineyard Wind.

Two other vessels, the OSV Atlantic Oceanic and Northstar Navigator, are deploying bubble curtains — perforated hoses filled with air that create a circular wall of bubbles to reduce noise from pile driving.

Turbine towers will be partially assembled at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal before they are installed.

At the center of each turbine is a generator assembly, called a nacelle. GE says the size of a nacelle for the Haliade-X turbine, the model chosen for Vineyard Wind 1, is comparable to six London double-decker buses.

Nacelles should arrive in late July or early August from Saint-Nazaire, France, according to Jeff Lewis, a project director for GE.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.