Generators begin arriving for Vineyard Wind turbines; installation to start soon
A ship carrying the first wind turbine generators for Vineyard Wind arrived in New Bedford Monday morning.
Each generator comes pre-assembled with other components, including the rotor where the blades attach. Together, they are called the nacelle — a rectangular structure the size of six London double-decker buses.
They are the third and last major component — along with tower sections and blades — to arrive before the first turbines can be installed. But Vineyard Wind is still waiting for delivery of a U.S.-made steel structure that can hold three blades on the transport barge to bring them out to the wind farm, CEO Klaus Moeller said.
The Danish-flagged installation vessel, the Sea Installer, is scheduled to dock in Salem today to prepare for work on the wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.
Installation will begin soon, Moeller told CAI on Monday.
“It's not going to happen this week, but it will be in the next few weeks that we will see the first turbine going out there and being installed,” he said.
That timeline was later than the one provided by an executive at Vineyard Wind parent company Avangrid to WCVB-TV last week. At the time, Sy Oytan, chief operating officer of offshore wind for Avangrid, said, “Next week, the turbines are being installed.”
Vineyard Wind is a 50-50 joint venture between Avangrid subsidiary Avangrid Renewables and funds of the investment company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
When installation begins, the components of a single turbine will be ferried out to the wind farm by barge, and then placed, piece by piece, by the Sea Installer using a massive crane, “almost as a Lego set of turbines,” Moeller said.
The process will be repeated for each of the 62 turbines for Vineyard Wind 1.
The 13-megawatt Haliade-X turbine, made by General Electric, is state-of-the-art among commercially available turbine models, Moeller said.
“This is the first of its kind,” he said. “They just installed the very first Haliade 13 in the UK. It's still very unique and very groundbreaking technology."
The first shipment of nacelles, from a GE factory in France, contained just four units. As with the blades and tower sections, more will arrive in New Bedford throughout installation.
At first, the work will be done with special care, because installing a Haliade-X is so new, Moeller said. The Sea Installer had to be outfitted with a larger crane for the project.
“This will be the first installation, obviously, in the U.S., but also by this vessel,” he said. “So they do it efficiently, but of course, the first ones are carefully watched, and we need to be really ready to install.”
Only a small number of turbines are expected to be ready when the wind farm starts generating power later this year.