Offshore Magazine recently featured Zachary Finucane, Keystone Engineering Project Manager and Benjamin Foley, General Manager of Keystone Engineering's Offshore Renewables team discussing the challenges of the Block Island Wind Farm project, the lessons from the oil and gas industry that they were able to apply, and the key commercial factors that made this project successful for the USA Offshore wind farm market.
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Background: As part of the USD 290 million Wind Farm project to supply less expensive power to Block Island, Keystone Engineering was retained to design the substructures for this pioneering project. Keystone leveraged their knowledge to adapt steel jacket foundations used in the oil and gas industry as the design-basis for the wind turbine support structures.
Advanced engineering tools helped Keystone to deliver an alternative to typical offshore wind monopile foundations that are limited to more shallow water depths and smaller wind turbine generators (WTGs). In addition, the tools enabled Keystone to interface with the software used by the WTG designer to optimize the design of the total structure and ensure safe operation under a wide range of weather conditions. The resulting design is not only designed to resist hurricane loadings, it requires less steel, and can operate in a much wider weather window as is found far off the North East coast of America.