The offshore wind joint venture between Equinor and BP, Empire Offshore Wind, has awarded a long-term charter to Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) for a newbuild service operations vessel (SOV) to support offshore wind projects off of New York.
The plug-in hybrid service operations vessel (SOV) will be the first in the United States’ offshore wind sector capable of sailing partly on battery power.
The vessel will accommodate up to 60 wind turbine technicians and will be utilized for the operations and maintenance of the Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2 offshore wind farms, located in federal waters off New York.
The charter agreement has a fixed period of 10 years, with commencement in the mid-2020s.
The US-flagged vessel will be Jones Act compliant and have its home port at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), which Equinor and BP have committed to developing in the coming years.
The SOV will be constructed with components from ECO’s extensive supplier base across 34 US states, generating over 250 domestic jobs during vessel construction. Edison Chouest Offshore is also dedicating considerable effort and resources to recruiting and training vessel crew members from the New York region. ECO will operate the vessel from their New York office.
The plug-in hybrid vessel will be the first in the U.S. capable of sailing, at least in part, on battery power. The SOV will sail into the port of SBMT on battery power, recharge the battery using shore power and sail out of New York Harbor. The hybrid will also be certified to “tier 4 emissions standards,” the most stringent in the U.S..
“Equinor and bp’s agreement with Edison Chouest will generate ripple effects throughout the supply chain, creating jobs in numerous states across the country. With the first of its kind, plug-in hybrid service operations vessel, Empire Wind will reduce potential emissions from our operations in the New York City area. This is another critical step forward in the development of the offshore wind industry, while helping achieve critical state and federal climate goals,” says Teddy Muhlfelder, vice president, Empire Wind and Beacon Wind, Equinor.
New York has emerged as one of the leading states for commercial offshore wind projects. Earlier this year, a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource broke ground on the nation’s second major offshore wind project, the South Fork wind farm, located in waters east of Long Island. Offshore wind has also received major backing on a state level, with Governor Hochul committing $500 million towards the development of ports, manufacturing, and supply chain infrastructure.
The Empire Wind offshore wind farms will located 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island and span 80,000 acres, with water depths of between approximately 75 and 135 feet. The projects two phases, Empire Wind 1 and 2, have a total installed capacity of more than 2 GW (816 MW and 1,260 MW, respectively).
Combined with Equinor and BP’s Beacon Wind 1 project, the Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2 projects will help provide a total a 3.3 gigawatts of renewable power to the New York State, enough to produce electricity for about 2 million homes.
“Edison Chouest Offshore will provide a state-of-the-art vessel fit for Empire Wind,” said says Mette H. Ottøy, chief procurement officer at Equinor. “We selected Edison Chouest in part for its extensive experience and expertise as a shipbuilder and we look forward to a collaboration beginning with construction and continuing through operations for the next decade or more. This is an important step in our efforts to develop a domestic supply chain in the US for offshore wind.”
In March, Maersk Supply Service was awarded the contract for the installation of offshore wind turbines at the Empire 1 and 2 using a newbuild Wind Turbine Installation Vessel that will be supported by two new Jones Act-compliant tugs and feeder barges owned and operate by Kirby Corporation.
Also in March, Edison Chouest Offshore said it had started construction on the first Jones Act-compliant SOV, which will be chartered to Ørsted and Eversource for offshore wind projects along the East Coast including the South Fork Wind, Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind projects.
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