What began as a straightforward electrical design contract at the Port of Providence turbine assembly facility quickly became complicated by environmental challenges and a compressed project timeline. Our knowledge and relationships with the site ownership and regulatory stakeholders helped us overcome daunting challenges that threatened the schedule and the turbine project rollout. We knew that, due to the port being located on filled land, subsurface methane gas was a concern that needed to be addressed during construction of the significant site infrastructure. Always putting safety first, we knew there was potential for methane gas to migrate to an overlying building that was housing fabrication operations. We modified the building design to include a sub-slab vapor barrier system, excavated and managed contaminated soils, and expedited permitting activities to quickly construct the temporary building while preventing methane gas from causing a hazardous environment. This modification allowed on-schedule delivery of the wind turbines.
A project this large required collaboration from many avenues. With the project being led by Deepwater Wind and GE, there was a focus to hire local firms, meaning cross-communication was necessary amongst nine other companies. Construction and staging were also local, being performed at four Rhode Island ports: Block Island, Galilee, Quonset Point, and the Port of Providence. Our decade-long relationships with the Port of Providence and the general contractor in charge of the assembly facility delivery were key in solving the environmental, design, and project management challenges.
The thirty-megawatt five-turbine demonstration project is expected to produce more than 125,000 megawatt hours annually. Power is transmitted from the turbines to the electric grid along a 21-mile transmission submarine power cable buried under the ocean floor, making landfall north of Scarborough Beach in Narragansett. The structures stand 600 feet high and can withstand a Category 3 storm. The system connects New Shoreham to the grid for the first time and allows it to cease using diesel generators that have been replaced with power from the cable supplying the island.
Fuss & O’Neill is committed to client care, flexibility, ingenuity, and development of clean, safe, and sustainable energy resources. A wind turbine creates reliable, pollution-free energy, without the use of fossil fuels, thereby mitigating the generation of greenhouse gases or radioactive or toxic waste. Wind power reduces global warming. The completion of this project will bring clean and reliable energy to the citizens of Rhode Island for years to come, and will act as a model for future offshore wind developments.