Eneti Inc. on Tuesday revealed plans it has entered into a binding agreement for the construction of one Wind Turbine Installation Vessel (WTIV), as well as “advanced discussions” with U.S. shipbuilders for the construction of a similar Jones Act-compliant vessel.
The binding construction agreement was signed with South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for a price of $330 million and delivery in early Q3 2024. Included is an option for an additional vessel at the same price.
The vessel will be a NG-16000X design by GustoMSC with a 2,600 Ton Leg Encircling Crane from Huisman Equipment and capability to install up to massive 20MW turbines at depths of up to 65 meters of water.
“Since last August, we have been unequivocal about our intention to enter the Wind Turbine Installation sector,” said Emanuele A Lauro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This contract with Daewoo is a milestone for the Company, as it reflects months of customer engagement and collaboration with partners, both old and new. This Vessel will have the advanced lifting capabilities and energy efficiency that offshore wind developers require, not just today but well into the next decade.”
Seperately, Eneti said it is also in “advanced discussions with several American shipbuilders” for the construction of a Wind Turbine Installation Vessel which would be constructed, financed, and operated by American citizens in compliance with the Jones Act. A statement from the company said the order, which is still in preliminary stages, is to address the “heightened demand” for transportation and installation capacity in federal waters of the United States, where the Biden Administration has pledged 30MW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030. The construction of Jones Act WTIVs is considered critical for this effort since there are none currently and only one under construction at Keppel AmFELS Brownsville, Texas for Dominion Energy.
Since no Jones Act-compliant WTIVs are available, the first large-scale offshore wind project in the U.S., Vineyard Wind, which happened to received federal approval today, will use a combination of Jones Act-qualified feeder ships and a foreign-flagged installation vessel in order to bypass Jones Act requirements, a solution offered by Government Accountability Office in December.
“In addition, we are laying the groundwork for a Jones-Act compliant WTIV to address the American mandate for offshore wind development. The growing calls for a safe, efficient, American-constructed and American-operated asset have been clear and loud. We are intent on providing a state-of-the-art solution to our customers so that they can comply with the Jones Act as they bring renewable energy to the U.S. consumer,” Lauro said.
Former Scorpio Bulkers first announced last August its intention to transition to offshore renewables and invest in a wind turbine installation vessel at DSME. Since then, the company has decided to exit the bulk sector completely and has sold off or put up for sale its entire fleet of dry bulk ships.
Shareholders approved the company’s name change to Eneti in February and common shares of the company are now trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “NETI”. Eneti’s first wind turbine installation vessel is expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2023.
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