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Cadeler Spends $651M for Two of the Largest Wind Installation Vessels

world's largest wind instalaltion vessels
Pacific Osprey installing WTG (Cadeler)

Published Jun 30, 2021 5:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

The growing number of offshore wind power projects and an increase in the size of the projects and the turbines is building demand for a new generation of larger and more powerful installation vessels. Denmark’s Cadeler, an installation and services company backed by the BW Group, announced plans to invest $651 million to build two of the largest installation vessels, which when introduced will also give the company the largest installation fleet in service.

Cadeler finalized a contract for the construction of two wind turbine installation vessels with COSCO SHIPPING Heavy Industry Co. of China. The first X-class vessel will be ready by the third quarter of 2024 and has already been commissioned for its first project by Siemens Gamesa with the second vessel following in the first quarter of 2025. Each vessel is contracted at $325.5 million.

“Expansion of our fleet is an important strategic priority to ensure that we can meet the demand we are seeing from clients for greater installation capacity. By providing energy-efficient vessels with very advanced technical specifications and climate-friendly features, we are proud to be taking this step to meet the current and future demand of the industry,” said Mikkel Gleerup, CEO of Cadeler. “Offshore wind plays an increasingly important role in the green energy transition, and the installed offshore wind capacity is expected to grow substantially in the coming years across several regions. We are well-positioned to play a role in cost-competitive offshore wind power production by providing efficiency gains for turbine manufacturers and wind farm owners”.

The new X-class vessels are designed to operate at some of the most difficult sites around the globe. With a deck space of 5,600m2, a payload of over 17,600 tons, and a main crane capacity of above 2,000 tons at 53 meters, the two new hybrid vessels will be able to transport and install seven complete 15MW turbine sets per load or five sets of 20+ MW turbines. Cadeler highlights that this will cut down the number of trips needed for each project accelerating installation speed.

The vessels were also designed to minimized emissions and their minimized environmental impact with lower CO2 emissions and reducing the use of hazardous substances. Cadeler is requiring the ability to use biodegradable grease and oil.

Additionally, technological improvements are planned, including a shore power connection, fuel-efficient optimized size engines, as well as a battery pack with the capacity to reduce fuel consumption during crane operations and DP maneuvering. The state-of-the-art vessels also will include technology for the regeneration of power from the jacking system and cranes. The construction of both X-class vessels will start immediately at COSCO’s shipyard in Qidong. 

The construction process will take three years, but even before the keel has been laid, the first X-class vessel has already been contracted for one of the largest offshore windfarms in the world, the 1.4 GW Sofia offshore wind power park in the North Sea, owned by RWE. The project will be located?on Dogger Bank approximately 120 miles from the?UK’s North East coast. For this project, Cadeler will assist Siemens Gamesa with the transport and installation of one hundred 14 MW wind turbines. The 14 MW turbines are expected to be the largest wind turbines in the world at the time of installation. The wind turbines will be approximately 825 feet tall, measured from sea level to the tip of the rotor blade, and will have a rotor diameter of nearly 730 feet.