Success Story | Block Island Wind Farm


Keystone Engineering Inc.

Block Island, Rhode Island, United States



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 OpenWindPower Fixed Foundation (formerly SACS Wind Turbine) to adapt steel jacket foundations used in the oil and gas industry as the design for the deep-water wind turbine support structures. OpenWindPower 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 OpenWindPower 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 OpenWindPower 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 OpenWindPower 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 OpenWindPower, 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 OpenWindPower 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 OpenWindPower enabled Keystone to streamline design and analysis, reduce costs, and accurately manage the terabytes of project data, minimizing the possibility for errors.

This project was the winner in the Offshore category of the 2015 Be Inspired Awards, now known as the Going Digital Awards in Infrastructure. Watch the presentation:



Learn More About Bentley Solutions for Offshore Wind Energy




  • Keystone saved their client 20% in installation costs by using Bentley's OpenWindPower to design steel jacket substructures for America’s first commercial offshore wind farm.

  • Using Bentley's OpenWindPower to perform multiple simulations and design iterations simultaneously, Keystone shortened the design cycle by 50% as compared to European offshore wind projects.

  • The interoperability of Bentley OpenWindPower 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.


“The effort put in by the Bentley  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.