First US-Built SOV for Offshore Wind Marks 50% Completion Milestone
Louisiana shipbuilder Edison Chouest Offshore along with Ørsted and Eversource celebrated the construction progress on the first American-built offshore wind service operations vessel (SOV) during an event in Houma, Louisiana on April 4. The shipyard was marking the 50 percent completion milestone for the ECO Edison while the wind farm developers highlighted the benefits for the U.S. shipbuilding industry from the emerging wind power industry and the use of the expertise in offshore operations from the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The companies reported a year ago that work had begun on the first SOV which will be 262 feet long. It will provide accommodations for approximately 60 technicians and engineers for the operation and maintenance of Ørsted and Eversource’s Revolution Wind, South Fork Wind, and Sunrise Wind projects in the Northeast United States.
Edison Chouest reports that approximately 400 people are working on the construction of the vessel with more than 275,000 work hours having been logged to date. The vessel is being built at the assembly hall in Houma with support from the company’s yards in Florida and Mississippi. The two energy companies entered into a long-term charter agreement with Edison Chouest in October 2020 that provides for the shipyard to undertake the engineering, construction, and ultimately operate the U.S.-registered SOV.
“This first American service operations vessel represents the ingenuity of businesses like Edison Chouest to build upon their legacy in offshore energy and to supply a cutting-edge vessel that will allow workers to safely and effectively operate offshore,” said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted during yesterday’s event. “The offshore wind energy industry is utilizing the talented and expert Gulf Coast workforce, and we’re proud that this first-of-its-kind vessel will support the production of more American energy.”
Rendering of the completed ship due to enter service in 2024 (Ørsted)
According to the companies, the ECO Edison’s design focuses on passenger safety and comfort, enhanced maneuverability, extended offshore endurance, and reduced emissions. The steel for the vessel is coming from North Carolina while the main engines are being built in Illinois. The vessel will be powered by four Caterpillar 3512E EPA Tier 4 gensets, each rated for 1700 ekW. Voith Schneider was contracted for the propellers with rapid thrust and steering response that include roll reduction and other features to maximize station-keeping capabilities.
Features for the crew include private staterooms, an exercise room, cinema/training room, internet café, and lounges. The vessel also has a warehouse for palletized storage of wind farm tools, components, and supplies. The vessel has both a walk-to-work capability and daughter crafts for infield turbine repair operations.
“We’re proud to put our expertise to work on such an important vessel for the offshore wind industry’s future American fleet,” said Gary Chouest, President and CEO of Edison Chouest Offshore. “Thanks to our decades of experience in offshore industries, our in-house engineers, and the hard work of more than 400 of our shipbuilders, we’re now more than 50 percent complete on this historic, specialized vessel that will serve as a model for the U.S. offshore wind industry and a homebase for American offshore wind technicians for years to come.”
The vessel, which is expected to be the first Jones Act-compliant wind farm SOV, is due to enter service in 2024. It will be based in Port Jefferson, New York to service the three wind farms.
Ørsted and Eversource highlighted that in addition to the charter for the ECO Edison, they will also be the first offshore wind developers to charter the Charybdis, the wind turbine installation vessel currently under construction at the Keppel AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas. The vessel is due for delivery later this year and will be owned by a subsidiary of Dominion Energy.