Vineyard Wind installation work kicks off

Written by Nick Blenkey
Vineyard Wind installation vessel

DEME’s specialized DP3 installation vessel Orion has installed the first first foundation for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm

“We can finally say it – as of today, there is ‘steel in the water,’” said Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus S. Moeller yesterday, as work got underway on installing the first monopiles and transition pieces at the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S.

The first of 62 foundations for the 800 MW Vineyard 1 wind farm, located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, has been installed by DEME‘s specialized installation vessel Orion. The DP3 vessel has a tailor-made motion-compensated gripper system and is specifically designed for the installation of large monopile foundations.

DEME Offshore U.S. is carrying out the transportation and installation of the monopile foundations, transition pieces, offshore substation and scour protection, as well as the offshore substation foundation and platform. Later, the company will also install the wind turbines and has partnered with Foss Maritime to provide Jones Act compliant feeder vessels to transport the wind turbines from the port of New Bedford, Mass..

Jan Klaassen, Director DEME Offshore U.S., said: “After many years of preparation, the installation work for the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S. has officially kicked off. We are excited to start a new era in the US offshore wind market. This also marks a major milestone for our team based in Boston, the crew onboard Orion and the project team, as it is the first offshore wind farm we will build in U.S. waters.”

In addition to its existing crew, the Orion is utilizing local union piledrivers, who received special training to begin this scope of work. As tradespeople gain additional experience in the offshore wind industry, greater employment opportunities will be created in the trades.

“We look forward to cooperating with all stakeholders and U.S. partners in the construction of this first large-scale offshore wind project in the U.S., including the local union workers who will participate in the installation work under the project labor agreement,” said Sid Florey, President DEME Offshore U.S. “DEME Offshore has contracted local U.S. vessels and crews to be deployed for the mitigation of noise emissions, as well as marine mammal observations. This first installed foundation is a major step for the U.S. as it advances towards locally produced clean electricity and job creation for the generations to come.”

Vineyard Wind is a joint venture between Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

“CIP’s Vineyard Wind 1 project is taking an historic step today, one that will eventually usher in a new era of clean, renewable and affordable energy,” said Tim Evans, Partner and Head of North America for CIP. “We’re proud to be at the forefront for the offshore wind industry in the US and look forward to bringing our leading global experience to other projects around the country.”

“After receiving the first turbine components in New Bedford last week, Avangrid’s Vineyard Wind 1 project has achieved another historic milestone for offshore wind in the United States as we begin foundation installation,” said Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra. “We’re proud that local union piledrivers are playing a critical role in the installation of the monopiles and transition pieces in the project area as we pioneer this new American industry.”


As part of the installation process, Vineyard Wind has also deployed the OSV Atlantic Oceanic and the Northstar Navigator to deploy a primary and secondary bubble curtain. A bubble curtain, which is comprised of large, perforated hoses and specialized air compressors, is designed to absorb and dampen sound during foundation installation. The hoses are placed on the seafloor around the monopile before being filled by compress air. Once the hoses are inflated, the air escapes through the perforations and creates a barrier of bubbles that reduce noise.

Three local fishing vessels, the F/V Torbay, F/V Socatean and the F/V Kathryn Marie, will be on site to serve as safety and communication sentries. The project is also deploying a Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) system comprised of fixed buoys. Up to four PAMs will be used for real-time underwater acoustic monitoring during pile driving to characterize the presence of marine mammals by detecting vocalizations. The buoys will be deployed and retrieved by the F/V Beth Anne before mobilizing to the next foundation location.

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