Timely US Offshore Wind Construction Support Vessel Proposed

Two companies based in The Netherlands have proposed developing a near-term marine vessel solution for delivering wind turbine parts for the construction of new U.S. offshore wind projects planned over the next few years.

GustoMSC and Barge Master said they will work together on the development of a “motion-compensated feeder solution” that will be Jones Act compliant. According to the companies, a platform with Barge Master’s motion-compensated technology — BM-T700 — will be placed on a U.S. flagged offshore vessel or a seagoing barge in order to feed the wind turbine components to the offshore installation site to be installed by a wind turbine installation jack-up vessel.

GustoMSC will perform the naval engineering and the integration of the BM-T700 platform onto a new or existing feeder barge. The Jones Act, which has been commonly assumed to apply to offshore wind projects with foundations affixed to the U.S. outer continental shelf, requires turbine components to be carried by a U.S.-flagged vessel.

Related: All Coast to Build Jones-Act Compliant Liftboat

The company said that although it “sees sufficient potential for larger purpose-built Jones Act compliant installation jack-ups to cope with the expected increase in turbine size, weights and hub heights, this [feeder barge] is a solid solution for the first wave of U.S. projects within the remaining timeframe.”

GustoMSC added that, by offering this steady top feeder barge, the solution offers the ability to “overcome current hurdles and make the successful development of the first U.S. offshore wind projects possible within time and budget constraints.”

A November 2017 study prepared by GustoMSC determined that it would cost about $222 million and take 34 months to build a Jones Act compliant purpose-built installation vessel. The study also found that a purpose-built feeder vessel would cost $87 million with a construction time of 25 months.

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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