HOUSTON– Block Island, the first operational US offshore wind farm, played a major role at the inaugural Offshore Wind Executive Summit: The Parallels of Wind, Oil and Gas in Houston.
Late last year, the $290-millionBlock Island wind farm offshore Rhode Island began delivering power to the New England grid. Deepwater Wind, a Providence, Rhode Island-based offshore wind developer, commissioned Keystone Engineering to design jacket-type substructures for the five, 6-megawatt wind turbine generators.
At the Offshore Wind Executive Summit, Zach Finucane, general manager, Offshore Renewables, Keystone Engineering, discussed how the company leveraged technology developed for the offshore oil and gas industry to meet the complex design criteria for the steel jacket foundations.
Finucane said the engineering firm used Bentley Systems’ SACS software to model the complex aerodynamic and hydrodynamic loading profile for the jackets. The interoperable offshore design and analysis software shortened the design cycle time by enabling the design team to create simultaneous simulations for multiple design iterations, and helped reduce installation costs by optimizing the substructure design for weight and strength.
He pointed out that with five 24-core computers running 24 hours-a-day for 10 days, the design team conducted 2,334 simulations, 30 million time steps, and 25 load cases (including operating, storm, start-up, shutdown, fault, maintenance, and installation) for waves of up to 19 m (62 ft) high and winds from eight directions at speeds from 2 m/sec to 58 m/sec (7 ft/sec to 190 ft/sec).
SACS, he added, enabled Keystone to streamline the design and analysis of the simulations, and accurately manage terabytes of project data to minimize the possibility of errors.
Finucane also said that several other US Gulf Coast-based engineering and construction firms contributed to the project, including Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. which made the foundation jackets and Montco Offshore and Weeks Marine mobilized installation equipment. Much of this equipment was transported from Louisiana to Rhode Island by barge.