Belgian offshore installation firm Deme Offshore and Dutch company Barge Master, which specializes in offshore motion compensation systems, have partnered up to further develop a U.S. Jones Act-compliant feeder solution for the upcoming offshore wind projects in the U.S.
Last year, DEME Offshore was selected by wind farm developer Vineyard Vind to provide the offshore transport and installation of 62 GE Haliade offshore wind turbines for the Vineyard Wind 1 project, the first large-scale offshore wind installation in the United States.
In a statement on Wednesday, DEME said it would collaborate with Barge Master to develop motion compensation technology which will be deployed in a pioneering feeder concept on the Vineyard Wind 1 project.
In addition to the installation of the turbines, DEME Offshore will also handle the transportation and installation of the monopile foundations, transition pieces, offshore substation, and scour protection for the wind turbine foundations, as well as the offshore substation foundation and platform.
DEME Offshore US said it was partnering with U.S. company Foss Maritime to develop the smart feeder barge concept "to ensure that it is fully compliant with the Jones Act." Following on from this, DEME Offshore has now announced a five-year agreement with Barge Master, where it will utilize four motion compensation platforms which will be installed on the US-flagged Foss Maritime barges.
The Jones Act is a federal law that regulates maritime commerce in the U.S. and requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned, and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
"This integrated, high-tech solution will enable the wind turbine components to be transported from U.S. ports to DEME’s specialized offshore installation vessels. When arriving alongside the installation vessel, the Barge Master motion compensation technology ensures safe lifting operations – even for these giant components - and increases workability, DEME said. The barges will also be towed and pushed by US-flagged tugs.
Worth noting, the installation vessel will not necessarily, or in this case certainly, be a Jones Act-compliant one, firstly because no such, U.S. built, vessel currently exists (there is one under construction), and, secondly, the installation vessel, in this case, won't be picking up goods - such as wind turbine components - from a U.S. port, but from a feeder barge offshore.
DEME Offshore US has said it has developed special sea fastening releasing technology and new lifting tools in collaboration with GE and Barge Master. DEME Offshore US, Foss Maritime, and Barge Master are set to launch the new concept, which consists of two fully-equipped smart feeder barges, in spring 2023.
The Barge Master concept is based on using patented technology, whereby control systems and cylinders are supporting a platform and actively compensating the motions of the barge. The wind turbine components are fastened to the motion-compensated platform. Barge Master has two existing and proven platforms which have been used on several offshore energy projects already. These two platforms and two larger newbuild platforms will be specifically adapted to cope with the needs for the Vineyard Wind 1 project.
President of DEME Offshore US, Sidney Florey, said: "This fully Jones Act-compliant solution, based on using US-flagged and US-owned tugs and barges, again demonstrates our commitment to build and support the US offshore wind industry and to create jobs for (unionized) American mariners. Uniquely, this technology turns existing barges into a high-tech, smart feeder concept, resulting in a competitive advantage for DEME Offshore and its partners. This solution also leads to sharp pricing and guaranteed availability for the offshore wind developers, our clients.”
“Long-term agreements with reputable companies, combined with our strong engineering capabilities, ensure that DEME Offshore US has the capabilities to deliver projects for our clients, even when the circumstances are challenging. We are renowned for being a total solutions provider, meaning that we are the logical choice for forthcoming projects in the US. We are ready to show that offshore wind farms in the US can be built according to tight deadlines and at competitive cost levels,” Jan Klaassen, Director DEME Offshore US, said.
Barge Master Director, Martijn Koppert, adds: “We are providing the most competitive feeder solution in the market by utilizing proven technology. By combining our motion-compensated feeder platforms with existing US maritime equipment and DEME Offshore’s jack-up vessels, the CAPEX and OPEX are kept low when compared to other concepts. We are confident this feedering solution is perfect for the US offshore wind market today, as well as for other large-scale wind farms in the future. We are delighted to enter this long-term commitment with DEME Offshore US and to showcase the potential of this innovative concept. We look forward to a fruitful cooperation with both DEME Offshore US and Foss Maritime.”