Providence, Rhode Island – 18 March 2016 – GE said that it continues to make progress with the assembly of the first part of towers that will be used to support the wind turbines that will comprise the Block Island Wind Farm. This project, which will use state-of-the-art GE wind turbines, is America’s first offshore wind farm. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
To mark the progress of the Block Island project, a ceremony will take place in the port of Providence, attended by Governor Gina M. Raimondo, of Rhode Island, Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater, and Anders Soe-Jensen, CEO of GE Renewable Energy’s Offshore Wind business.
Led by Deepwater Wind, the Block Island wind farm will use five 6-MW GE “Haliade” turbines to generate 30 MW of power, enough to produce around 125,000 MWh of electricity, thus meeting approximately 90% of Block Island’s electricity demand. The Haliade turbines, that will be located roughly three miles off the coast of Block Island, are some of the largest wind turbines in the world. With a capacity of 6 MW each, they are capable of supplying electricity for the equivalent of 5,000 households per annum and can save over 21,000 metric tons of CO2 during the turbine’s life time*. Its height (170 m/ 560 ft.) is twice as high as the Statue of Liberty and it has a diameter (150 m/ 490 ft.) that doubles the size of a 747 Jumbo jet wingspan.
This project continues to achieve important milestones with progress on the first section of the towers in ProvPort, Providence, R.I., and the assembly of the first direct drive permanent magnet generator in the nacelle assembly line in Saint-Nazaire. The remaining components of the turbines (towers, other sections, blades, and nacelles) will be shipped from Europe and assembled on site, for commercial operation, planned for the fourth quarter of 2016.
Block Island Wind Farm is GE’s first offshore wind project since the acquisition of Alstom Power & Grid and the creation of the new GE Renewable Energy business. The project demonstrates the capabilities of the new business by bringing together large-scale project capability with state of the art wind technology, and a global supply chain.
Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater, said: “We’re proud to partner with one of the world’s most innovative companies as we launch a new American renewable energy industry. Together, we’re putting hundreds of local workers to work on this important project, giving them the experience they need to help grow this industry.”
Jérôme Pécresse, CEO of GE Renewable Energy, said: «In the last six years, the renewables industry has been able to lower the cost of electricity produced by onshore wind farms by approximately 60%**, making wind mainstream and competitive with other forms of power generation. Our sights are now set on offshore wind with the goal to do the same. Deepwater’s Block Island project, being the first offshore farm in the US, is a critical stepping stone to tapping the vast offshore resources in the US. At GE, we believe our mission is to make renewable power affordable, accessible, and reliable, to support the energy transition around the world. We’re proud to be part of the Block Island Wind Farm project, strengthening our long-standing partnership with DE Shaw and supporting Deepwater Wind, one of the industry’s leading offshore wind developers.”
The historic project is addressing one of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges: providing enough electricity for a growing global population and continued economic growth, while at the same time decreasing greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector. Just this week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report stating that energy-related CO2 emissions stayed flat for a second year in a row, while global GDP grew. The report cited the critical role played by renewable energy in decoupling energy emissions and economic growth, with renewables accounting for around 90% of new electricity generation in 2015. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the U.S. has enough offshore wind energy capacity to produce over 4,000 gigawatts of power – more than four times the nation’s annual electricity production.