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Cable Problems Cause Offshore Turbine to Stop Spinning

The trouble comes after the same turbine was previously taken offline while its generator was repaired after a drill bit was left inside.

Turbine Offshore Deepwater 2 58b81e138b3a3
Deepwater Wind

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A turbine isn't spinning at the nation's first offshore wind farm, but repairs are expected to be complete soon.

Deepwater Wind, which owns the five-turbine farm off Block Island, gave an update Tuesday night on the wind farm's initial operations to regulators from Rhode Island's Coastal Resources Management Council.

There was an issue with a cable connection on the turbine, but it should be back up within days, said Paul Murphy, the company's vice president for operations and engineering.

The same turbine was previously taken offline while its generator was repaired after a drill bit was left inside.

The wind farm opened in December and wind speeds have been strong this winter, averaging about 25 mph at the site. The company says the wind farm has done an excellent job capturing the energy of winter storms.

Work is also ongoing to connect Block Island to the mainland grid that the wind farm is generating power for.

The substation for the power company on Block Island should be physically connected this week, said Samuel Bird, facilities manager for New Shoreham, the only town on Block Island.

After testing is complete, contracts are finalized and work is done on the cable between the island and the mainland, the island should be able to purchase power by early May, he added.

The council said the connection is taking slightly longer than expected but it's not troubled by that since the island has diesel generators and its power usage is far lower this time of year, before tourists visit.

Chairwoman Anne Maxwell Livingston said that she expected more issues since it's the first project and that the council will continue monitoring the turbine repairs.

"It seemed like it was too good to be true until the drill bit," she said.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo wants to accelerate Rhode Island's adoption and development of 1,000 megawatts of clean energy resources by 2020.

The state currently has 138 megawatts of operational in-state renewable energy projects and contracted projects, including 30 megawatts from the offshore wind farm, according to Raimondo's office.

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