BOSTON — Cape Wind has commenced a major geotechnical and geophysical survey operation as part of its construction design and engineering process and initial mobilization of the project on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. This multi-million dollar offshore program will continue through September/October, involving up to 50 scientists, engineers, archeologists and geologists using specialized vessels.
Fugro is the lead Cape Wind contractor undertaking this effort. Fugro is a global geotechnical survey firm that has performed similar work for a majority of the offshore wind farms built in European waters. Fugro’s U.S. East Coast operations are based in Norfolk, Va.
Cape Wind President Jim Gordon 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 benefits over its design life.”
Fugro will be assisted by Massachusetts contractors including New Bedford-based Fathom Research who will work together with the University of Rhode Island performing sediment analysis. Also involved are Waltham-based ESS Group who are providing environmental engineering services and who will also oversee the marine mammal monitoring program to minimize any disturbance to marine mammals from the project activities on Horseshoe Shoal.
Fugro Vice President Tom McNeilan said, “Cape Wind is undertaking one of the most comprehensive geophysical surveys in the history of the U.S. North Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf for construction engineering.” This work will build upon extensive geophysical and geotechnical work completed in obtaining the Federal permit for America’s first offshore wind farm over a nine-year permitting effort. “We are excited Fugro is involved with this pioneering project in helping catalyze and build a supply chain for the emerging U.S. offshore wind power industry,” McNeilan added.
The first phase of this four-phase geology program involves continuous offshore presence on the project site. The four phases are:
1) A geophysical survey that employs state-of-the-art acoustic imaging to map the seafloor and the submerged layers below the seafloor.
2) Obtaining and analyzing vibracore samples that will build upon previous surveys to look for paleosols and help ensure there are no cultural artifacts present.
3) Cone Penetration Tests (CPTs) to be advanced into the subsurface to measure soil characteristics.
4) Geotechnical exploration that will employ deep CPTs and deep borings.
Cape Wind is America’s first offshore wind farm to secure federal and state approval and to be issued a lease to operate by the federal government. For more information, visit www.capewind.org.