Cape Wind set to start surveys

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, July 6, 2012

Initial work will begin tomorrow on a project in Nantucket Sound that aims to become the first offshore wind farm in U.S. waters.

Cape Wind announced today the launch of a multimillion-dollar geotechnical and geophysical survey, the initial phase of its effort to build a 130-turbine project off the coast of Massachusetts. The effort is slated to run through September or October and will include participation from up to 50 scientists, engineers, archaeologists and geologists, the company said.

“Our geotechnical program this summer on Horseshoe Shoal begins our detailed design engineering and construction phase and will allow us to optimize our project to ensure that Cape Wind will deliver its important clean energy benrfits over its design life,” Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said in a statement today.

The first phase of the project will focus on a geophysical survey to map the seafloor and lower layers where the turbines will be erected using advanced acoustic imaging technology. Later phases will focus on ensuring no cultural artifacts are present on the project site, measuring the subsurface characteristics of the soil where turbines would be erected and geotechnical tests that would bore deep into the seafloor

Survey firm Furgo, which has performed similar work for European offshore wind farms and has U.S. operations based in Norfolk, Va., is the lead contractor for the project. Subcontractors include New Bedford, Mass.-based Fathom Research and Waltham, Mass.-based ESS Group; the University of Rhode Island also is assisting the project.

Cape Wind expects to begin constructing turbines next year, project spokesman Mark Rodgers said via email.