Vineyard Wind and its U.S. service contractor Foss Maritime began shipping pieces for the project’s first GE Haliade-X wind turbine out of the port of New Bedford, Mass., Sept. 6 to the first installation site more than 30 miles off Cape Cod.

It was a landmark for the joint venture by Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners to install 804 megawatts of capacity on the first utility-scale offshore wind array in U.S. federal waters. Foss Maritime is using two purpose-built 400’ deck barges, the Marmac and Foss Prevailing Wind, for Jones Act-compliant delivery of turbine components to  construction partner DEME Group’s Denmark-flagged 433’x150’ Sea Installer vessel with 300’ deep legs stationed 65 miles from New Bedford south of Martha’s Vineyard.

The barges were built using Barge Master technology that uses a patented control system and cylinders that support a platform and actively compensate the motions of the barge. The wind turbine components are fastened to the motion compensated platform for a smooth ride in ocean conditions.

“It may look easy, but the safe transportation of these components miles over the open water is no small feat,” Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus S. Moeller said in an announcement of the first barge movement out of New Bedford.  “While we’ve had many firsts, once this turbine is installed, it will stand as a proud symbol of American’s energy transition.  I want to thank all of our partners for their continued collaboration and look forward to celebrating the progress of our industry.”

GE initially loaded the Marmac from the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal with three vertically placed tower sections reaching more than 200’ in height, three 321’ long blades and a nacelle pod that houses the generating components. Foss is delivering  loads weighing more than 1,700 tons each to the Sea Installer vessel.

“Over the past year, we have achieved significant milestones in the development of Avangrid’s Vineyard Wind 1, but the installation of the project’s first turbine stands as a singular landmark for offshore wind, clean energy, and climate action in the United States,” said Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra. “We are proud that local union labor will pioneer the installation of the massive GE turbines that will harness the winds off the shores of Massachusetts to power more than 400,000 homes and businesses across the Commonwealth.”

“This milestone is the result of years of technology development and partnership between Vineyard Wind, GE, DEME, Foss, the unions, local communities and many others,” said Joel Whitman, president of Foss Offshore Wind, a Foss Maritime division. “GE’s next generation turbines are much larger than anything that has previously been installed. The delivery to the construction site is a turning point for the offshore wind industry. We’re ready to go.”

Once elevated, the Sea Installer becomes a platform where the recently upgraded crane, now capable of lifting more than 1600 tons, can install the tower sections, nacelle and blades for each WTG. 

“The development of the first GE Haliade-X wind turbines from the Port of New Bedford to the Vineyard Wind project site is an important project milestone and another historic first for our Port, said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “It is yet another demonstration of New Bedford’s capacity to support the staging of wind projects.”

As a part of a project labor agreement, Vineyard Wind officials say local union labor will be used both on the vessels and onshore at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. They estimate that approximately 400 union members have worked on the project to date.

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