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Vineyard Wind offshore project powers ahead

Construction of the massive 800 MWVineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts is now moving ahead at a good clip, with "steel in the water"

By Paul MacDonald

In a development that had been months in the works, it happened in June, on the massive Vineyard Wind project, now under construction off the U.S. east coast.

“We can finally say it—there is ‘steel in the water,’” said Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller. “Over the next few months, we’ll be working hand in glove with the building trades and our contractors to ensure the work is done safely and efficiently.”

Vineyard Wind, a joint venture between AVANGRID, Inc. and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, formally announced in June that work installing the first monopiles and transition pieces has started on the first-in-the-U.S. commercial scale offshore wind farm. The project is scheduled to start delivering electricity by the end of the year.

An 800-megawatt project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Vineyard Wind will generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, create 3,600 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) job years, save customers $1.4 billion over the first 20 years of operation, and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking 325,000 cars off the road annually, say the companies building the project.

The project is the first commercial scale offshore wind farm in the U.S. to achieve financial close and, at $2.3 billion, represents one of the largest investments in a single .renewable energy project in the country

The heavy lift vessel ORION, which is being operated by DEME Offshore US LLC, part of Belgium-based DEME, will be working with a team of ships throughout the summer installing 62 wind turbine foundations in the wind development area.

“Vineyard Wind is on a par with the most ambitious offshore developments globally, including those developed by the Iberdrola Group. Not many countries have the ambition to launch their first project at a scale that will power 400,000 homes,” said Ignacio Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola and Chairman of AVANGRID, of the Vineyard Wind project.

“With 15 years of offshore wind leadership, Iberdrola and Avangrid are more than ready to help the U.S. benefit from the substantial opportunities of offshore wind including economic investment and job creation,” said Galán. “Our offshore developments in New England and North Carolina/Virginia could represent a total investment well above $15 billion in the coming years.”


After receiving the first turbine components in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Vineyard Wind achieved another historic milestone for offshore wind in the U.S. as it began foundation installation.

In May, Vineyard Wind received the first shipment of components for 62 GE Haliade-X turbines at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. The tower sections are being constructed at the terminal before being shipped out and installed.

Towers arrive in three sections in New Bedford and once onshore are staged at the terminal before being partially assembled and loaded onto a specialized barge.

“In the face of challenges to the supply chain worldwide, the arrival of the towers in Massachusetts is a tangible sign of progress in the greening of New England’s grid,” said State Sen. Mike Barrett, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy. “You can’t help but feel encouraged.”

“This is a wonderful moment for New Bedford and for Massachusetts as the arrival of this equipment is physical proof that the nation’s first large-scale commercial wind farm is no longer a dream, but a very tangible—and quite frankly, huge—reality,” said State Rep. Antonio Cabral.

As the contractor for the foundation installation, DEME will handle the transportation and installation of the monopile foundations, transition pieces, and scour protection for the wind turbine foundations, in addition to the offshore electrical substation foundation and platform. Locally operated piledrivers are playing a critical role in the installation of the monopiles and transition pieces in the project area.

As a part of a labor agreement, Vineyard Wind and DEME Offshore are working closely with local unions and trades to provide training in this new industry. The goal is to have American workers play an increasing role on a variety of scopes of work during the construction of the project.

DEME Offshore is teaming up with FOSS Maritime Co. LLC, a U.S. maritime service contractor. FOSS will provide the Jones Act compliant feeder vessels, by which the wind turbines will be transported from the port of New Bedford to the specialized DEME Offshore installation jack-up vessel.

 In May, Vineyard Wind received the first turbine components for 62 GE Haliade-X turbines at the
New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal in Massachusetts. Vineyard Wind has since achieved another historic milestone for offshore wind in the U.S., as it began offshore wind turbine foundation installation.

Vineyard Wind is located in federal wind energy area OCS-A-0501, south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, and 35 miles from mainland Massachusetts. The location was determined through a multi-year, intergovernmental task force process, which carefully considered scientific data and public input. This area boasts powerful, reliable wind speeds and ideal site conditions to support wind turbines.

Vineyard Wind consists of an array of 62 wind turbines, spaced one nautical mile apart on an east-west and north south orientation. The GE Haliade-X turbines are each capable of generating 13 megawatts of electricity. Electricity generated by the turbines will be collected by an offshore substation prior to being transmitted to shore.

GE’s Haliade-X is said to be the most powerful offshore wind turbine built today.

“The selection of GE as our preferred turbine supplier means that a historic American company will play a vital role in the development of the first commercial scale offshore wind power in the U.S.,” said Vineyard Wind board member Lars Pedersen. “This is a huge moment not only for the future of our project, but also for the future of an industry that is poised for exponential growth in the coming decades.”

A number of other companies and contractors have been involved with the massive project. Geo-data company Fugro was awarded the marine geotechnical site investigation contract for the Vineyard Wind project. Offshore Construction
Associates (OCA) was awarded the installation management services contract, while Wood was appointed as the technical advisor for the project.

Prysmian Group was contracted to design, manufacture, and install the subsea HVAC cable system for the project.

Vineyard Wind has signed contracts with Ironhouse and EverLine to support the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project at various construction and operation stages.


EverLine, a provider of energy compliance, technical, and security solutions, will deliver complete Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) integration for the 62 wind turbines, a system that will connect the fields’ offshore and onshore substation, wind turbines, and offices.

The company will also be responsible for procuring equipment, configuring devices, installing and configuring SCADA software, and testing and commissioning all IT and SCADA systems.

Additionally, Ironhouse will provide the commissioning oversight for the onshore substation, wind turbine foundation, inter-array cables, wind turbines, and SCADA system.

There has been a ripple effect in creating jobs from the project. Maine-based Ironhouse and Houston-based Everline join contractors in Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia and elsewhere, in the buildout of the huge offshore wind farm.

“As we build the nation’s first offshore wind farm, we are proud to engage an ever-increasing amount of the U.S. workforce in each step of the process,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller. “Vineyard Wind is only the beginning. With each project, we will take a giant leap forward in building out this new industry, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and reducing the harmful effects of carbon pollution.”

Dutch offshore contractor Heerema Marine Contractors has a contract to help in the offshore transport and installation of the 84 foundations consisting of monopiles and transition pieces. Windar Renovables is responsible for manufacturing the wind turbine foundations, which are being produced at its plant in Spain.

Vineyard Wind selected the Jan De Nul Group, together with its subcontractor JDR Cable Systems part of the TFKable Group, to supply and install the roughly 130 miles of inter-array cables for the Vineyard Wind project. The 66kV inter-array cables connecting the GE Haliade-X turbines will transfer electricity to the offshore substation for transmission to the grid.

Part of the contract calls for installation support and subsea training for individuals with an electrical background, creating approximately 40 new full-time jobs in Massachusetts, to ensure skilled labor is available locally to support the project and its ongoing maintenance, as well as the U.S. offshore wind industry.


“We are excited to be at the forefront of the emerging offshore renewables market in the U.S.,” said Wouter Vermeersch, ManagerOffshore Cables at Jan De Nul Group. “In 2020, we successfully completed the foundation and turbine installation on the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project and we are looking forward to capitalizing on the knowledge gained and the experience of working on the East Coast with this new challenge.”

Two submarine cables will be installed along a carefully sited route from the offshore substation to the landing point onshore at Covell’s Beach in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Submarine cables will be buried up to six feet below the seafloor using a jetplow. The route was selected after extensive geological surveys of the area to avoid sensitive habitats.

The onshore cables will be buried beneath public roadways in Barnstable. From the onshore cable landing site, the cables will be installed underground along public roads to an onshore substation in the village of Hyannis. The Vineyard Wind onshore substation will be adjacent to an existing Eversource substation.

U.S. company Southwire has been selected as the main supplier to design, manufacture and install the terrestrial cables. It was scheduled to install more than 51 kilometres of high voltage cable during the first quarter of 2023. The high and extra-high-voltage cables, ranging from 69 kV to 500 kV, will be manufactured at the Southwire plant in North Carolina.

The project also includes operations and maintenance (O&M) facilities on Martha’s Vineyard, the Tisbury Marine Terminal. The facility, along with two others on the island, will provide support services for the wind farm once it’s operational, creating 90 jobs while also bolstering the community’s environmental sustainability goals. 

In addition to O&M technicians, the facilities will employ people with a range of skillsets, such as site managers, planners, helicopter pilots, crew transfer vessel (CTV) support staff, and health, safety and environmental (HSE) managers, among other positions.

The port facility will be able to support up to three CTVs that will be used to transport O&M technicians to the wind farm. 

The project seems to have gathered significant political support as it has moved along, and concern about Climate Change has grown.

“On Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, and Nantucket, our communities are witness to the effects of a rapidly changing climate every day,” said State Senator Julian Cyr, who represents the area. “The region’s viability and prosperity have always depended on our natural environment and ocean ecosystems, which are now at significant risk. 

“We are at a critical moment,” added Cyr. “What we do today on the climate crisis will determine whether future generations can prosper or even survive.”

The Vineyard Wind project is proof that the offshore wind revolution has arrived, said U.S. Senator Ed. Markey. “The future is bright and blowing in the wind,” he said.


Q3 2023