Ship to house offshore wind technicians being built in Louisiana’s oil country

Edison Chouest facilities in Cut Off.

Down in Terrebonne Parish, where oil rig supply ships are as much a part of the waterside scenery as shrimp boats, a new kind of seagoing behemoth is under construction that marks offshore wind power’s growing presence in the energy industry, reports The Associated Press.

Shipbuilding giant Edison Chouest Offshore, based in Cut Off, is assembling a 260-foot-long vessel called Eco Edison along the Houma Navigation Canal. It’s being built for Denmark-based Ørsted, a firm that builds and operates wind farms worldwide, and Eversource, a New England energy provider. When delivered next year, the ship will serve as floating housing for roughly 60 U.S. offshore wind technicians and a warehouse for their tools as they run and maintain wind farms in the Northeast.

Officials with the three companies were set to gather Tuesday under the bow of the unfinished vessel to mark construction progress and hail the role offshore oil industries are playing in the development of offshore wind generation.

It’s long been understood that offshore oil companies possess valuable know-how for offshore wind development such as how to maintain machinery in a salty marine environment.

Differences between the Eco Edison and vessels built for offshore and deep water oil rigs aren’t obvious at first, but the Eco Edison is designed to house more workers rather than move as much cargo as a typical oil vessel.

Louisiana politicians have been critical of the Biden administration’s attempts to curb drilling. And while the oil and gas industry remains a major employer and driver of the state economy, there have been some shifts in that sentiment over the past few months.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards recently announced that Shell will invest $10 million with New Orleans-based Gulf Wind Technology for a project to develop turbine components designed to operate in the Gulf, and Entergy announced Monday its plans to evaluate supplying offshore wind energy to industrial companies. Read the full story.