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Bluewater wind farm on schedule for 2012

Wind farm developer Bluewater Wind says permitting for the Delaware offshore wind park is moving ahead and the project is squarely on schedule to produce power by 2012. The size of the wind farm has yet to be determined, and Bluewater Wind says it is unclear if power will be produced beyond 2037.

Wind farm developer Bluewater Wind says permitting for the Delaware offshore wind park is moving ahead and the project is squarely on schedule to produce power by 2012. The size of the wind farm has yet to be determined, and Bluewater Wind says it is unclear if power will be produced beyond 2037.

The company is required to have money in place to dismantle the wind farm in 25 years, in case it decides to stop producing power there.

Bluewater Wind spokesman Jim Lanard said, "The size is still being considered and evaluated because we are still looking for additional buyers." If the project is not enlarged past its anticipated 234-megawatt size, Bluewater Wind will install 65 to 78 turbines - depending on if it chooses to use 3-megawatt or 3.6-megawatt turbines, he said.

Permit required

The next step for Bluewater Wind is to complete permitting for a meteorological tower that will measure wind at the height turbine blades will spin. "There is no data for this in the United States for offshore wind," said company spokesman Jim Lanard. Bluewater Wind selected the Atlantic Ocean waters off Delaware's coast based on sea buoys that measure winds, but not at the specific height of the turbines.... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Wind farm developer Bluewater Wind says permitting for the Delaware offshore wind park is moving ahead and the project is squarely on schedule to produce power by 2012. The size of the wind farm has yet to be determined, and Bluewater Wind says it is unclear if power will be produced beyond 2037.

The company is required to have money in place to dismantle the wind farm in 25 years, in case it decides to stop producing power there.

Bluewater Wind spokesman Jim Lanard said, "The size is still being considered and evaluated because we are still looking for additional buyers." If the project is not enlarged past its anticipated 234-megawatt size, Bluewater Wind will install 65 to 78 turbines - depending on if it chooses to use 3-megawatt or 3.6-megawatt turbines, he said.

Permit required

The next step for Bluewater Wind is to complete permitting for a meteorological tower that will measure wind at the height turbine blades will spin. "There is no data for this in the United States for offshore wind," said company spokesman Jim Lanard. Bluewater Wind selected the Atlantic Ocean waters off Delaware's coast based on sea buoys that measure winds, but not at the specific height of the turbines.

To win that permit, Bluewater Wind must lease land from the U.S. Department of the Interior, through the Minerals Management Service (MMS). The lease will be granted through a set of interim rules issued last January. Bluewater Wind had to nominate the patch of land through an application to MMS earlier this year. Lanard said other federal organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will funnel their questions for Bluewater Wind through the MMS.

Lanard said Bluewater Wind anticipates getting approval for such a tower by March 2009. He said the tower could be installed next summer and must collect data for a year. But, with data collection complete by late summer 2010, the company is right on schedule to begin constructing turbines, Lanard said.

Turbines will be put in the water in 2012 and 2013. The company could begin putting foundations in the sea floor - the turbine bases will be hammered 90 feet down - in 2011, Lanard said.

Future plans

In the long term, Bluewater Wind does not have plans for the wind farm past the 25-year term of its contract with Delmarva Power, said Lanard. That is because the company relies on financial models that show what it can do to meet the needs of its investors across the term of that specific contract. "We don't project power produced in year 26," he said.

That's not to say the park will be dismantled after the final year. "We may see in year 17 the equipment is running beautifully and we want to extend the term," he said. The oldest offshore wind farms were built in 1991 and most are still operating. Lanard said offshore parks built more recently with the technology Bluewater Wind plans to use are all still running.

Updating the wind farm or extending its life are decisions to be made later, said Lanard, but engineers will have to consider developments in technology such as lighter blades or bigger turbines that might emerge by the end of the contract with Delmarva Power. Deciding to use them will hinge on whether engineers say the foundations, expected to last 40 to 50 years, can support the new structures, should the company choose to update.

MMS requires the company to have a fully funded plan in place to decommission the park 25 years after it is built, Lanard said. To decommission an offshore wind park, developers must remove all the above-water structures and remove the foundations to 15 feet below the sea floor. "With approval, we can leave the foundations above the sea level floor, where they will serve as an artificial reef for marine life. Scientists will evaluate the reefs later," said Lanard.

On questions regarding the replacement of turbine parts Lanard said, "The Delaware offshore wind park is being built completely with private funds. No state or federal funds are being used to construct it."

Lanard said the company expects to employ 400 people to construct the facility and to keep on an operations and maintenance team for regular and preventative maintenance. Expanding the wind farm will require more workers than the maintenance crew, but not as many as will construct the project, because infrastructure such as underwater cables will already be in place.

Lanard said despite the financial woes of parent company Babcock and Brown, which has seen its stocks plummet, the North American group to which Bluewater Wind belongs is going strong, constructing onshore wind parks and generating revenue for the company.


Source: http://www.capegazette.com/...

DEC 26 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18400-bluewater-wind-farm-on-schedule-for-2012
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