No glitches in wind farm’s performance

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:30pm

An independent assessment of the Block Island Wind Farm has determined that the wind farm’s operation conforms to state regulations.

ABS Group, the independent Certified Verification Agent approved by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council for oversight of the pilot project, issued a Verification Certificate to the CRMC that supports the wind farm’s reliable operation. The CRMC is the state’s environmental permitting agency responsible for the project’s oversight, and also created the Ocean Special Area Management Plan for siting the 30-megawatt wind farm three miles off the southeast coast of Block Island.

Meaghan Wims, spokesperson for Deepwater Wind, told The Times that, “The certification from ABS reflects the successful design and installation of the Block Island Wind Farm, and the hard work of the many dedicated team members who helped build this historic project. The Block Island Wind Farm continues to perform well.”

“The CRMC is proud to have been the driving force behind the first offshore wind farm in the United States, through its Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan and groundbreaking permitting process, and we celebrate along with Deepwater Wind for achieving this Verification Certificate from ABS Group, the independent CVA for the project,” said Grover Fugate, Executive Director of the CRMC. “ABS Group’s independent evaluation of the design, construction and installation of the Block Island Wind Farm was integral to the process outlined in the Ocean SAMP, and brought integrity and additional transparency to the project.”

Rain Byars, ABS Group’s Principal Engineer and Project Manager, said, “ABS Group’s independent assessment of the design, fabrication and installation of the wind farm provided lessons learned in understanding offshore wind project risk. These insights will contribute to improving the project development process.”   

ABS Group provides inspecting and verifying technology and equipment designs, delivering safety, risk and compliance services, optimizing asset performance, providing advanced engineering support and certifying management systems for the marine; offshore; oil, gas and chemical; government and power sectors. 

Deepwater Wind, the project’s developer, noted that it learned from its early missteps in the construction process, where health and safety was a concern, to earn the Verification Certificate. In August of 2015, ABS published a 13-page report noting that there were near misses, limited safety representation, and ill-suited equipment deployed on the project.

Deepwater Wind said there were “zero injuries” incurred during offshore construction, and employed lift-boats and other suitable equipment to aid with its offshore construction. Block Island began receiving wind-generated energy from the Block Island Wind Farm on May 1, 2017.