Vineyard Wind to Deploy US-Based Supplier’s Bubble Curtain During Foundation Installation

Vineyard Wind, a joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Avangrid which is building the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the US, has signed an agreement with the US company ThayerMahan for a pilot programme to deploy and test a secondary bubble curtain during the installation of foundations.

Vineyard Wind

A bubble curtain mitigates noise created during foundation installation by absorbing and dampening sound. First, the curtain’s large, perforated hoses are placed on the seafloor around the monopile. Then, the hoses are filled with compressed air which, once the hoses are inflated, escapes through the perforations and creates a barrier of bubbles that reduce noise.

The operations at the 800 MW Vineyard Wind will be conducted from the Northstar Navigator vessel, formerly known as Keith Cowan, which Northstar Marine recently acquired from SEACOR Marine to support upcoming offshore wind work in the northeast US. For the noise mitigation operations, the vessel will be operated out of the Port of New Bedford.

Under the agreement with Vineyard Wind, ThayerMahan will receive USD 5 million in funding from Vineyard Wind’s Industry Accelerator Fund administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and will also move its headquarters for the bubble curtain acoustic mitigation product line to New Bedford, sharing part of the Foss Marine Terminal. 

Furthermore, partnered with the Big Bubble Curtain technology specialist Hydrotechnik-Luebeck (HTL), ThayerMahan has also committed to hiring locally for a wide array of positions, from deckhands to data scientists. The company has already established a training/internship programme with UMass Dartmouth, in addition to agreeing to assembly and manufacturing operations for future projects in New Bedford. 

Once the partnership is executed, ThayerMahan, a provider of seabed surveys, acoustic mitigation and monitoring, and other maritime-related services, will be the first American company to provide bubble curtain services to the US offshore wind industry, the Vineyard Wind joint venture says.

“Our agreement with ThayerMahan ensures that for the first time, a US-based company will perform the service of providing a bubble curtain mitigation system for an offshore wind project”, said Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus S. Moeller. “We believe this is the first step of getting US firms experience in this new industry and sets the stage for rapid expansion in the coming years, particularly in our hometown of New Bedford”.

Jennifer Downing, Executive Director of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster (NBOC), said: “ThayerMahan’s partnership with UMass Dartmouth is particularly exciting as it will help to prepare our local workforce for future job opportunities as the company continues to expand its operations in New Bedford. We are once again seeing an exciting first for U.S. offshore wind unfold in the Port of New Bedford, further solidifying Massachusetts and New Bedford as a leading hub for the industry”.

The 800 MW Vineyard Wind 1 is currently under construction off the coast of Massachusetts.

The project is located 15 miles (24 kilometres) off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and will feature 62 Haliade-X 13 MW turbines, which will generate enough electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The wind farm is planned to start producing power this year.


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