Empire Offshore Wind, an offshore wind joint venture between Equinor and BP, has picked offshore cable specialist Nexans as a preferred supplier to connect the Empire Wind offshore projects in New York to the onshore grid.
The turnkey projects cover the full design and manufacturing, as well as the laying and protection of over 300 km of export cables that will deliver renewable energy to over one million homes. Nexans plans to use its Nexans Aurora vessel for offshore operations at the project. The 149.9 m long and 31 m wide vessel currently being outfitted by Ulstein in Norway.
Empire Wind is being developed by Equinor and BP through their 50/50 strategic partnership in the U.S.
Empire Wind is planned for an area of 80,000 acres, in federal waters, an average of 33 km south of Long Island, east of the Rockaways.
Two cable systems will connect the offshore substation for Empire Wind 1 to landfall and substation in Brooklyn, New York. In contrast, Empire Wind 2 will link to Long Island by three parallel cables.
Christopher Guérin, CEO of Nexans, said: “We are excited to be a trusted, long-term supplier on the development of the Empire Wind projects and to participate in placing New York State on the way towards reaching 70 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030.
"This partnership demonstrates the value of our unique end-to-end model and supports our investments in U.S. offshore wind and the new state of the art Aurora cable-laying vessel. Nexans is engaged in Electrifying the Future, and supporting all our stakeholders on the path to greener energy.”
The U.S. has its Jones Act, which requires any vessel transporting cargo between U.S. ports, or between U.S. ports and offshore facilities, to be built and flagged in the U.S. This includes offshore wind.
Given that the Nexans Aurora is a Poland-built, Norway-outfitted vessel - so, not Jones Act-compliant - Offshore Engineer reached out to Nexans seeking an explanation on how the vessel will work in the U.S., and if it will be bringing all the equipment and cables from abroad, or be fed by U.S.-flag vessels - so, not transporting cargo from U.S. ports itself?
A Nexans spokesperson said: "Indeed working within the requirements of the “Jones-Act” is paramount to install subsea cables in the US. It is sensitive and critical knowledge that Nexans has acquired over the years. Nexans has plans in place to work with the Jones Act community which will provide the supports needed for the operation of Nexans’ specialized cable laying ships in US waters."