An illustration of Great Lakes Dredge and Docks' Jones Act-compliant rock installation vessel to support the growing U.S. offshore wind industry. Illustration courtesy Great Lakes Dredge & Dock

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Awarded First Contract for New Jones Act Rock Installation Vessel

Mike Schuler
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May 2, 2022

A consortium between Houston-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (NASDAQ: GLDD) and Netherlands-based Van Oord has been awarded a contract for the subsea rock installation work for the Empire Wind I and II offshore wind farms off New York.

GLDD will use the first Jones Act-compliant subsea rock installation vessel, currently under construction at Philly Shipyard. The contract marks the first rock installation contract awarded to an American company.

The inclined “fallpipe” vessel will be used to install rocks to protect and stabilize monopile foundations, electrical substructures, and export cables for Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor (NYSE: EQNR) and bp (NYSE: bp).

Empire Wind I and II are expected to provide over 2 Gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy to New York.

“The consortium of Great Lakes with Van Oord combines the experience of Van Oord, the global market leader in subsea rock installation, with Great Lakes, the only U.S. marine contractor to invest in building the first Jones Act compliant fallpipe vessel purpose built for the U.S. offshore wind market. This unique combination offered a competitive advantage in terms of experience, equipment availability, local content, and knowledge of labor and regulatory environments in the U.S.”

Illustration of rock dumping. Image courtesy Huisman

GLDD says it will purchase the rock from New York quarries in close proximity to the Empire Wind I and II sites. The company’s site operations will be based out of Staten Island, New York.

The 816 megawatt (MW) Empire Wind I project is scheduled for completion in 2026 followed by the 1.2 GW Empire Wind II project in 2027.

“This award by Equinor and bp solidifies Great Lakes’ entry into the U.S. offshore wind market with a major project award for one of the flagship offshore wind developments for the State of New York,” said Eleni Beyko, Senior Vice President-Offshore Wind at Great Lakes. “We are very happy to support New York in building a more sustainable future. We have a long track record working with the state and the local unions and supply chains, having executed dredging projects in New York for many decades. Our goal now is to contribute to building the U.S. offshore wind industry, while creating local employment and economic activity in the state.”

In January, Equinor and BP finalized Purchase and Sale Agreements (PSAs) with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for their Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 offshore wind projects. Combined with the partnership’s Empire Wind 1 project, the projects will provide a total a 3.3 GW of renewable power to the state, enough to produce electricity for about 2 million New York homes. The agreements include transforming the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into a major staging and assembly facility for the offshore wind industry.

Huisman said last week it has been awarded the contract to supply the rock installation equipment for the vessel.

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