Cape Wind begins offshore survey operations

CAPE WIND has begun a geotechnical and geophysical survey operation on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, the company announced Thursday. Above: Wind turbines operate off the coast of Great Yarmouth, U.K.
Posted 7/5/12

BOSTON – The Cape Wind project has begun a geotechnical and geophysical survey operation on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, the company announced Thursday.

The survey operation, which is part of Cape Wind’s construction design and engineering process, will continue through September/October and involve up to 50 scientists, engineers, archeologists and geologists.

Norfolk, Va.-based Fugro will be the leading contractor on the project. The global geotechnical survey firm has performed similar work for offshore wind farms in European waters.

"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," Cape Wind president Jim Gordon said in prepared remarks.

Assisting Fugro will be New Bedford-base Fathom Research, who will work with the University of Rhode Island to perform sediment analysis on the project. Waltham, Mass.-based ESS Group will provide environmental engineering services and oversee the marine mammal monitoring program to minimize any disturbance to the marine mammal ecosystem around Horseshoe Shoal.

“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,” Fugro Vice President Tom McNeilan said in a statement.

The first phase of this four-phase geology program commences Friday and will involve continuous offshore presence on the project site.

The four phases are as follows:

  • A geophysical survey using acoustic imaging to map the seafloor and the submerged layers below the seafloor.

  • Obtaining and analyzing vibracore samples that will look for paleosols and help ensure there are no cultural artifacts present.

  • Cone penetration tests to measure soil characteristics in the subsurface.

  • Geotechnical exploration that will employ deep CPTs and deep borings.

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