Block Island, Rhode Island, is a popular summer destination for New Englanders who enjoy scenic vistas and outdoor activity. With ample opportunity for hiking, biking, and boating, Block Island typifies the classic image of an Atlantic Coast vacations spot. Soon, the beautiful views of the Block Island Sound will include more than the silhouettes provided by the annual sailboat race as the area will be home to America’s first commercial offshore wind farm, which will provide the island with much needed renewable power.
Deepwater Wind Block Island, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deepwater Wind, recently announced it has fully financed the Block Island Wind Farm, reaching financial close. The project will feature five Alstom Haliade 150 6-MW offshore wind turbines.
“This is a major milestone and the confirmation that this project, the first commercial offshore project in the United States for Alstom, will now materialize,” says Yves Rannou, senior vice president wind for Alstom.
“Securing final financing for this ambitious project is an exceptional achievement for Deepwater Wind,” says Anders Soe-Jensen, vice president Alstom Wind Offshore. “We believe this project will highlight both the commercial and technological viability of offshore wind in the US and we are proud to be part of the team making it happen.  This is the start of a new chapter in sustainable energy for the US.”
Wind turbine, foundation, and electrical interface engineering is advancing on schedule to meet Deepwater Wind’s project specifications, including installation of the five foundations during summer 2015. Located about 3 miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, the Block Island Wind Farm is scheduled for commercial service in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Thanks to its 500-foot diameter rotor (with blades stretching 240 feet), the turbine has a yield 15 percent better than existing offshore turbines, enabling it to supply power to the equivalent of about 5,000 households.
Developed for all offshore conditions, the offshore 6 MW direct drive wind turbine combines proven technology and innovation. Building on Alstom’s Pure Torque® design, it provides high yield and uncompromising reliability that will lower the cost of offshore energy.
In April 2012, the consortium led by EDF EN for which Alstom is the exclusive turbine supplier won three offshore wind farms in France (Saint-Nazaire, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp for a total of around 240 wind turbines). Alstom has since confirmed setting up of four facilities in France: two in Saint-Nazaire dedicated to nacelles and generators assembly, and two in Cherbourg for blades and towers manufacturing. Saint-Nazaire factories have been inaugurated in December 2014, in the presence of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
The first Haliade™ 150-6MW has successfully obtained the IEC power performance measurement (power curve) after three months of performance measurements at Le Carnet site, in France.
A year later, Alstom installed Haliade™ off the coasts of Ostend harbour at the Belwind site in Belgium. This is the largest offshore wind turbine ever installed in sea waters. This installation will help in confirming how the machine behaves within the offshore environment for which it was specifically designed and developed. These successes proved that five offshore wind turbines for Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW Block Island pilot Wind Farm located off the coast of Rhode Island would be a natural fit.
Floating wind energy provides an innovative alternative for enhancing the energy potential of maritime settings that are too deep to install fixed-bottom foundations. Such settings usually provide better wind conditions while being more extensive and less travelled than near-coastal areas.
In October of last year, Alstom joins with DCNS to found a sector of excellence in the floating wind energy business. The partnership agreement aims at developing and then commercializing an integrated system for a semi-submersible floating wind turbine delivering 6 MW.
The groups will combine their respective skills as naval architect and turbine manufacturer to develop a competitive, powerful solution for a large potential market. The objective is to be in a position to produce an initial 6MW wind turbine by 2017, featuring a semi-submersible floating system developed by DCNS plus Alstom’s Haliade 150 offshore wind turbine, already being used in fixed-bottom offshore wind turbine technology (SEA REED project). ◆
Cécile Dodat is media relations and content senior manager for Alstom Renewable Power. Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. For more information, visit

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