The Huge Transformer Ship That's Building America's Green Future By David Hambling


This article discusses the ship that was used to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States. This 15,000-ton ship, Brave Tern is described in the article as a "real world transformer". This is because this ship has the ability to transform itself from just any old cargo ship, to a construction platform, with the help of four extensive legs on all four corners of the ship. Brave Tern crossing the barrier between the Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere is shocking in itself. Never has one of these ships been spotted in the waters of the Western Hemisphere and this ships voyage, which occurred this past July has become the first. This is simply because the United States simply does not have access to one of these ships for the building of offshore wind farms.

Several months of planning must go into the voyage in order to assure a safe passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Although the Brave Tern was prepared to face some storms through its extensive planning with wind and currents, the trip couldn't have went better. Another miraculous aspect of this ship is that it is able to pinpoint the location it wishes to be above, and when it reaches this location, the four steel legs of the ship lock into the seafloor. This process is described in the article as parking a huge ship in a small garage. This process is guided only by a GPS and underwater thrusters which keep the boat in place. This miraculous maneuver is followed up by several hundred crew members working through the next 18 days on assembling each one of these turbines, creating the first offshore wind farm in the United States.

This picture shows the legs of the ship locked into the seafloor below to begin the process of putting the turbine together


This extensive article discusses the several measures taken to assure that this one billion dollar project goes as smoothly as possible. Each and every step of this process has to be evaluated by its pros and cons, and through the work of many individuals, the building of the Block Island Wind Farm was a smooth eighteen day process. Because of its success, Deep Water Wind is looking to further this process in building more than five new offshore wind farms in the next couple of decades.

This process is extremely intricate, and I was even lucky enough to interview Deep Water Wind's Chairman of the Board, Bryan Martin. He showed his excitement with the new project by saying, "The project will cost close to $1billion but it offers the cheapest new power plant available to serve Long Island. LI is a huge market and I expect a number of expansions of this project. It's taken 10 years and a lot of people calling me crazy but as of today, we've officially launched a new industry! How often do you get to say that?"


In the next few months, I will be taking a trip with Bryan to see the Block Island Wind Farm generating energy for millions of homes. He witnessed the project being built first hand, and through by expressed excitement, he figured it would be an excellent opportunity for me to see why this is the next big industry. He believes that ships like the Brave Tern will soon be one of many transformer ships in the US being used to build these offshore wind farms. I am extremely excited about the prospect of seeing this new technology in full swing, and I hope to see many more of these wind farms being erected in the near future!

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