Alstom breaks into US offshore turbine market

13 Feb 2014


Haliade 150 Alstom

© Alstom

Alstom will supply one of the first offshore wind farms in the US. The French manufacturer is to supply five Haliade 150-6 turbines for the pilot wind farm at Block Island, off the coast of the state of Rhode Island.


US markets seduced by Alstom offshore turbine. The French group signed a contract with Deepwater Wind, a transatlantic pioneer of offshore wind, agreeing to supply five Haliade 150-6 turbines for the pilot wind farm at Block Island, off the north-east coast of the US.


With an operational capacity of 30MW, the farm will produce 125,000MWh of electricity each year from 2016, enough to “supply more than 17,000 households,” according to its manufacturer. In addition to constructing the turbines, Alstom will maintain the site for 15 years.


An ambitious development programme


This agreement “allows us both to continue refining the Haliade 150‘s technology and affords us a valuable foothold internationally“, said an Alstom source. The American market is still in its earliest stages: until now it has been completely absent from the map of offshore wind installations, but the country is now developing an ambitious programme for the technology. The “Smart from the start” federal plan, launched in 2010, aims to accelerate development of offshore wind turbines on the Atlantic coast.


Winning this first contract with Deepwater Wind allows Alstom to nourish further ambitions for this market. The American company won the concession to exploit two sites off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts last July. It plans to install a 1GW energy centre to supply Long Island, New York, and the south-east of New England. Between 160 and 200 turbines will be installed, depending on the design chosen.


Serial production launched


In France, Alstom is already contracted to supply three wind farms at Courseulles-sur-Mer, Fécamp and Saint-Nazaire. The turbine manufacturer has also been selected by the German company KNK Wind for its planning application for 58 turbines in the Baltic Sea. But it’s off the American coast that the Haliade 150-6?s commercial career will begin, claimed by its maker to be “the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine.


The first two models were sited on land at the Le Carnet test site, in the Loire-Atlantique in March 2012, and off the coast of Belgium at Ostend at the end of last year. The Block Island pilot farm “will allow us to pursue the technological development necessary before beginning serial production.” Production will take place in France, divided between the sites at Saint-Nazaire and Cherbourg. The nacelles and alternators will be made in Saint-Nazaire, then transported to Cherbourg for assembly with the masts and blades made there. The planned production capacity is 100 turbines per year.