Seabed survey and ocean research company Ocean Infinity has signed a contract with Equinor Wind US LLC, for one of the first-ever floating offshore wind farms on the US West Coast.
Under the terms of this contract, Ocean Infinity will undertake a comprehensive site investigation survey using multiple AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) simultaneously for Equinor's floating offshore wind lease area (OCS-P 0563), located in Morro Bay, offshore California.
Shawntel Johnson, Director, Business Development at Ocean Infinity said: "The US West Coast with its challenging deep water topography presents another excellent opportunity for Ocean Infinity to deliver the value of its multi-AUV capabilities for its clients. AUVs in scale are the perfect tool for this region providing not only great data quality advantages over towed arrays, in the water depths spanning from 974 to 1317 meters (about 4,507 feet), but also huge efficiency over wide areas."
The project is set to start in February 2024.
According to Ocean Infinity, the survey scope encompasses a range of vital offshore surveys.
"These critical data acquisitions are integral components for Equinor to mature their design basis as well as inform the Site Assessment Plan (SAP) and Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for the OCS-P 0563 lease area. Ocean Infinity's high quality data sets will facilitate informed decision-making and meticulous planning for the construction and operational phases," Ocean Infinity said.
Back in December 2022, five leases were offered by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the US west coast and the first-ever US sale to support commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development opportunities.
With a bid of USD 130 million for 80.062 acres in the Pacific Ocean, Equinor secured a ~2-gigawatt (GW) lease in the Morro Bay area that has the potential to generate enough energy to power ~750 000 US homes.
Oliver Plunkett, CEO at Ocean Infinity explained how the Morro Bay project marks an important milestone for this forward-focused young company: "When Ocean Infinity was formed, the idea of using robotics at enormous scale to collect more data, faster and with less environmental impact while optimizing safety was our guiding principle.
"This project is that entire vision coming to life. It's exciting and rewarding to work with clients such as Equinor who share our vision, can see the power of robotics and our unique understanding as tech innovators, and will reap the benefits as we support them in driving the energy transition.
"Ocean Infinity's fleet of globally located uncrewed vessels and around 20 AUVs, the world's largest fleet of full capability deep water Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, ideally place the company to support the ongoing growth in offshore renewable energy in the US and globally."