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Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO), Ørsted and Eversource have executed a long-term charter agreement for the provision of the first-ever Jones Act-compliant Service Operations Vessel (SOV) for the U.S. offshore wind industry.
The SOV will customized for the operation and maintenance (O&M) phases of wind farm projects, serving as an at-sea base to accommodate and transfer technicians, tools and parts safely to and from offshore wind turbines. The design will focus on passenger comfort and safety, enhanced maneuverability and ship motions, extended offshore endurance and reduced emissions.
The U.S.-flagged vessel will be engineered, constructed and operated by ECO for the operation and maintenance of the Revolution Wind, South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind offshore wind farms in the northeast United States, all of which are still dependent on obtaining the necessary federal permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
The vessel will be built at a combination of Edison Chouest’s shipyards in Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana, creating over 300 new construction jobs and even more indirect jobs.
The SOV will mark ECO’s entry into the offshore wind market.
“The offshore wind energy industry is generally well developed and understood, particularly in Europe where an enormous industry has developed over decades, but this industry is in an initial stage in the United States,” said Gary Chouest, President of Edison Chouest Offshore. “There is an unprecedented opportunity, with twelve offshore wind projects planned, an additional ten offshore wind leases signed, and another six wind leases awaiting award.”
According to Mr. Chouest, over 1,700 wind turbines capable of producing well over 25,000 megawatts of power are in the pipeline across thirteen states in the U.S. This development will require an incredible array of vessels, resources, knowledge, and capital commitment to install, operate, and repair.
Chouest says the company will draw on its experience in the offshore oil and gas sector to make for an easy transition to offshore renewables. Operation of the vessel is expected to create jobs in Louisiana as well as New York, where it will be based once in operation.
“We’re unique in the U.S. offshore marine vessel industry with our own in-house engineering group, our own shipyards, and a wealth of expertise in the offshore industry putting us in a dominant position in the industry with the unique capability to engineer, construct and operate specialized vessels for this market,” Gary Chouest said.
The vessel will measure over 260-feet-long and capable of housing 60 passengers. 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.
“This is an incredible moment for the American offshore wind industry,” said Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted North America, Offshore. “It is hard to state what this moment means for this new, multi- billion-dollar industry. The SOV is not only a crucial part of our plans to build out and operate our Northeast Wind Farms, but it represents just how far reaching the economic impacts of offshore wind can be; offshore wind means massive investments for U.S. companies and jobs for American workers, even those in states without active projects.”
“Today’s news represents a key moment in the advancement of the offshore wind industry in the United States,” added Joe Nolan, Executive Vice President at Eversource Energy. “Not only is this new vessel a critical component of our plans to build and develop the next generation of clean energy in our country, it’s a testament to how far the industry has come in such a short time and what we can achieve moving forward. This new state of the art vessel will help us deliver on the promise of creating jobs, driving economic growth, and combating climate change and will play a key role in our efforts to support states in meeting their commitment to decarbonization.”
“The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) President, Aaron Smith, said he is thrilled that Ørsted and Eversource are investing in U.S. vessels.
“This is proof that the offshore wind will be an economic driver for the U.S. maritime industry and the U.S. maritime industry is fully capable of satisfying the needs of the offshore wind,” Smith said.
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