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International Operating Engineer - Fall 2015

  • Text
  • Operating
  • Engineers
  • Iuoe
  • Engineer
  • Offshore
  • Pipeline
  • Drought
The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Feature Wind on the

Feature Wind on the Water Operating Engineers break new ground with first offshore wind farm OPERATING ENGINEERS in Rhode Island made history this summer when they lifted and set the first foundational structures for a new wind energy project many years in the making. What makes the project unique is that the 400-ton steel jackets that support the wind turbines are being placed in the open ocean, three miles off the coast of Block Island at depths of about 100 feet under water. The Block Island site, developed by Deepwater Wind of Providence, R.I., is the very first offshore wind farm in the United States. Operating Engineers from Local 57 and Local 25 are performing the work as part of a joint venture between Weeks Marine and Manson Construction who are serving as Deepwater Wind’s offshore foundation installation contractor. The five foundational installations kicked off the first phase of construction for the 30-megawatt wind farm. During the construction season this year, more than a dozen construction and transport barges, tugboats, crew ships and monitoring vessels were buzzing with activity at the offshore construction site. Securing a PLA with Deepwater Wind means that more than 60 highly skilled Operating Engineers are on the job. When completed, the project will consist of five turbines connected to the mainland by an underwater cable and the company expects the turbines to begin producing electricity by fall 2016. Deepwater Wind is promoting the Block Island Wind Farm as a demonstration project and as a precursor to larger offshore wind farms scheduled to be constructed in Rhode Island and New Jersey waters. “We know the world is watching closely what we do here, and we’re incredibly proud to be at the forefront of a new American clean-tech industry launching right here in the Ocean State,” said Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski in a company press release. “This moment has been years in the making – and it’s just the start of something very big.” While offshore wind projects have blossomed across Europe over the past 20 years, many projects in the United States have been stalled because of concerns over costs, shoreline aesthetics and disruption to ocean life. Deepwater Wind went through an extensive permitting process that involved nine different state and federal agencies. It took five to six years to wade through the bureaucracy, but they had the support of Operating Engineers Local 57 and other stakeholders to push the project forward. 14 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER FALL 2015 15

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