General Electric and Deepwater Wind is building America’s first offshore wind farm with turbines twice the size of the Statue of Liberty.
The United States uses about 18% of the world’s total energy consumption, and demand is continuing to go rise.
Most of the power the country generates comes from fossil fuels and isn’t renewable or sustainable.
The two companies are now installing five massive wind turbines in the middle of the Atlantic, becoming the first offshore wind farm in North America.
Called Block Island Wind Farm, it is located 30 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, and work is expected to be finished by the end of August 2016. It will be fully operational by November 2016.
The Block Island Wind Farm will generate 30 megawatts of energy. It will emit about 40,000 fewer tons of greenhouse gases per year than fossil fuels would to generate the same amount of energy. That’s the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.
The potential for offshore wind energy in the US is massive. If we build in all of the available ocean space, the winds above coastal waters could provide more than 4,000 gigawatts a year.
Offshore turbines offer many advantages over those on land. Winds tend to blow harder and more consistently in the ocean, which helps offshore turbines generate more power.
Offshore turbines can also be larger than land turbines, allowing them to produce more energy over time.
To turn that power into usable energy, the blades capture wind and transfer it to the turbine’s generator, which creates electricity from the motion. The electricity travels through cables buried under the sea floor to an onshore station. There, the power can flow into an electrical grid.
Each Block Island turbine can generate 6 megawatts of energy during its life cycle — enough to power 5,000 homes. Each turbine produces 21,000 fewer tons of CO2 than fossil fuels to generate the same amount of energy.
Each 400-ton nacelle (the turbine’s generator) is about the size of a school bus. From the base to the tip of the 27-ton blade, the turbines will stretch to twice the height of the Statue of Liberty.
Getting the Block Island turbines to the offshore site was a Herculean task
To move the LM Wind Power blades, which came from Denmark, the team used special tractor trailers that could support the weight. Here is one zipping down a Danish highway:
If the roads were too tight, the team had to pave new ones.
The nacelles were made at a GE facility in St. Nazaire, France, and then shipped across the Atlantic to Rhode Island by boat.
To avoid damage from heavy waves, the nacelles rode on an elevated platform so water could pass underneath instead of crashing into them.
The turbines’ white towers arrived by cargo ship from Aviles, Spain. That ship also carried all of the parts to the final site.
On a lifted platform 30 miles off the coast, 800-ton yellow cranes positioned the blades and nacelles onto the towers. The ship that carried all the parts was hoisted up above the water.
The turbines, which will sit on yellow bases, will be fully built by the end of August 2016.
While there are only five turbines at the new Block Island Wind Farm so far, it could signal a milestone for the industry.
H/T – Business Insider
Source: Nairobi Wire