Denmark-based Ørsted, the world’s leading offshore wind developer, has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Louisiana shipbuilder Edison Chouest Offshore to construct the sector’s first ship that’s compliant with a law controlling shipping goods in U.S. waters.
The ship resembles a mini cruise liner and will be built at Edison Chouset’s shipyards in Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana via 300 new construction jobs.
The project between Edison Chouest Offshore, Ørsted and Eversource will create the first-ever U.S. flagged “Jones Act” compliant Service Operations Vessel (SOV). The SOV will be engineered, constructed and operated by ECO as an integral part of the operation and maintenance of the Revolution Wind, South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind offshore wind farms in the northeast United States, which are dependent on obtaining the necessary federal permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
The SOV will be used during the operation and maintenance phases of the wind farm projects, serving as an at sea base of operations to accommodate and transfer technicians, tools and parts safely to and from the individual Wind Turbine Generators. This vessel is a special-purpose design with focus on passenger comfort and safety, enhanced maneuverability and ship motions, extended offshore endurance and reduced emissions.
The vessel will operate from New York once in operation.
ECO President Gary Chouest noted “unprecedented opportunity,” with 12 offshore wind projects planned, an additional 10 offshore wind leases signed, and another six wind leases awaiting award “that will require an incredible array of vessels, resources, knowledge, and capital commitment to install, operate, and repair.” ECO, Chouest says, is “in a dominant position in the industry with the unique capability to engineer, construct and operate specialized vessels for this market.”
The vessel will be over 260 feet long and capable of housing 60 passengers. Crew will enjoy access to passenger staterooms with private bathrooms, an exercise room, cinema/training room, internet café and multiple lounges. The SOV will include a below deck warehouse to palletize storage for wind farm tools, components and supplies with step-less access to an elevator. A Daughter Craft, with associated Launch and Recovery System and hydraulic height-compensating landing platform, will also be installed for infield turbine repair operations. In keeping with the environmental goals of the offshore wind industry, this vessel will operate on diesel electric power that meets EPA Tier 4 emission standards and will feature proprietary ECO Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.