US offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind is starting geophysical and geotechnical surveys that will help inform the design and locations of the turbines at the South Fork and Revolution Wind projects.
The start of this five-month suite of offshore surveys at Deepwater Wind’s federal lease site off New England will begin this week with the work of a 132-foot specialized liftboat and a support vessel, plus 25 local personnel, including geotechnical specialists, engineers, biologists, archaeologists and mariners.
“We’re embarking on this major scientific endeavor so we can better understand the seafloor where we’ll build these next windfarms,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski.
“When we’re done, we’ll know more about this part of the ocean than ever before. Local laborers, mariners and scientists will help us get the job done.”
Area Piledrivers from Local 56 were tasked with preparing components on the Seacor liftboat Supporter at Specialty Diving Services’ quayside at Quonset Point.
Deepwater Wind commissioned the Providence, Rhode Island office of the engineering design firm GZA to perform this survey – the same local team who completed this work for the Block Island wind farm, America's first offshore wind farm. GZA will oversee offshore sampling operations and then conduct the geotechnical analysis on these samples.
The 104-foot offshore support vessel Matthew Hughes will carry equipment and personnel back and forth from Quonset Point to the Supporter. Together, the vessels will be busy with geotechnical surveying offshore for the next month or so, the developer said.
Deepwater Wind’s studies will continue this fall, with additional geophysical surveys between September and December to support the development of the South Fork and Revolution Wind farms.
The developer will conduct a specialized high-resolution geophysical survey of the site to identify any boulders buried in the seafloor. This highly specialized survey will inform the specific location of turbines. In addition, the company has commissioned a separate team of experts to conduct a large-scale geophysical survey at the site.
A full suite of high-tech survey technology will be used in the geotechnical and geophysical surveys, including sonar, magnetometers and tools to measure the depth and slope of the seafloor. Marine biologists aboard will use monitoring systems and thermal imaging cameras to alert the team of any marine mammals in the area.
The South Fork wind farm and Revolution Wind projects are located in Deepwater Wind’s federal lease site, more than 15 miles south of the Rhode Island coast and more than 30 miles off Montauk, New York.
Once permits are in-hand, local construction work on the 90MW South Fork wind farm would begin in 2021, with the wind farm in operations in 2022.
Construction would start as early as 2020 on the 400MW of power from Revolution Wind to serve Rhode Island, and in 2021 on the 200MW of power from Revolution Wind to serve Connecticut. Revolution Wind is planned to begin operations in 2023.
A similar survey effort is already underway off the coasts of Maryland and Delaware to inform the design and construction of Deepwater Wind’s 120MW Skipjack wind farm.