• Hero_1800x349_Keystone_cover

    Keystone Engineering Inc.

    Block Island Wind Farm

    Block Island, Rhode Island, United States

Project Summary


As part of the USD 290 million Block Island Wind Farm project to supply less expensive power to Rhode Island and New England, Keystone Engineering (Keystone) was retained to design the substructures for five, 6-megawatt wind turbine generators. To accommodate the complex aerodynamic and hydrodynamic loading of the deep water wind turbines and streamline communication with the generator designer, Keystone needed flexible, interoperable offshore design and analysis tools.


Keystone leveraged Bentley SACS to adapt steel jacket foundations used in the oil and gas industry as the design for the deep-water wind turbine support structures. SACS enabled Keystone to design the composite construction and complex nodal geometry for the jacket substructures, delivering an alternative to typical offshore wind monopile concrete foundations that are limited to more shallow water depths. Keystone relied on the SACS functionality to interface with GH Bladed software used by the turbine generator designer to optimize the design of the total structure and ensure safe operation.


Using Bentley SACS for its jacket design process enabled Keystone to optimize the amount of steel needed for the sub-structure, reducing installation costs by over 20 percent compared to traditional monopile construction. Bentley SACS also allowed Keystone to perform, in parallel, multiple simulations, and numerous design iterations, shortening the design cycle by 50 percent. Keystone’s innovative design mitigated risk and reduced fabrication and installation costs. Bentley’s comprehensive, interoperable software ensured effective collaboration with the wind turbine designers, facilitating accurate modeling throughout the project.


Using SACS, Keystone performed over 3,000 time-domain simulations for each design iteration, and conducted over 150 simulations in parallel, reducing cycle time by 50 percent as compared to typical European offshore wind projects. The interoperability of SACS with GH Bladed software enhanced the team’s ability to tune the frequency of the structures for optimal operation within a wide band of wind speeds and oceanographic conditions to maximize revenue. Bentley SACS enabled Keystone to streamline design and analysis, reduce costs, and accurately manage the terabytes of project data, minimizing the possibility for errors.

  • The interoperability of Bentley SACS enabled collaboration between two engineering firms using different software and ensured accurate modeling throughout the project.
  • The economic feasibility of the Block Island Wind Farm project serves as precedent for a new United States industry, supporting infrastructure development to reduce energy costs while expanding job opportunities.
  • Keystone saved their client 20 percent in installation costs by using Bentley SACS to design steel jacket substructures for America’s first commercial offshore wind farm.
  • Using Bentley SACS to perform multiple simulations and design iterations simultaneously, Keystone shortened the design cycle by 50 percent as compared to European offshore wind projects.
  • “The effort put in by the Bentley SACS team to couple its post-processing capabilities with the hydrodynamic/aerodynamic modeling capabilities of other software systems has allowed for the first truly useful coupled analysis in the offshore wind industry. This has resulted in significant time and cost savings for the offshore wind foundation/sub-structure engineering community.”

    Benjamin Foley P.E., general manager-offshore renewables Keystone Engineering Inc.
  • “The Bentley SACS Wind Turbine module allowed us to streamline the analysis process reducing the design cycle time, the cost to the client, and the risk of errors in managing the tremendous amount of data needed to perform over 3,000 time-domain simulations.”

    Zachary Finucane P.E., project manager Keystone Engineering Inc.