Physical activity to construct America's first Jones Act-qualified wind farm service operations vessel (SOV) has kicked off on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The vessel, Eco Edison, is being built at Edison Chouest Offshore shipyards in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida for planned delivery in 2024.
Once complete, the vessel will immediately provide operational support out of Port Jefferson, New York for Ørsted and Eversource’s joint venture offshore wind portfolio, which includes South Fork Wind, Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind. Together, these wind farms will generate approximately 1.8 GW of offshore wind power.
Over 260 feet long and capable of housing 60 crew members, the vessel will be utilized during the operation & maintenance (O&M) phases of the wind farm projects, serving as an at sea base of operations to accommodate and transfer technicians, tools and parts safely to and from the individual Wind Turbine Generators.
“This new vessel will be the first of its kind in the United States and play a crucial role in the growth of America’s offshore wind industry,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America.
“Today, the development of a new, clean energy future for the United States takes another important step forward as construction begins on the nation’s first Jones Act-qualified service and operations vessel,” said Joe Nolan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Eversource Energy. “Construction of this vessel will mean hundreds of new jobs for American workers as we continue to bring the benefits of offshore wind to communities around the country.”
Work at ECO's Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida shipyards will create well over 300 new jobs, with components of the vessel being manufactured across 12 states including Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
ECO announced the selection of Caterpillar Marine, GE Power Conversion and Voith Schneider as power and propulsion system providers for the ECO Edison. The vessel will be powered by four Caterpillar 3512E EPA Tier 4 generator sets (gensets), each rated for 1700 ekW. The gensets are configured for variable speed operation, allowing for the highest levels of efficiency and minimized exhaust emissions. The GE Power Conversion electrical system can operate with gensets or stored energy.
The latest generation of Voith Schneider Propellers (VSPs), featuring integrated permanent magnet motors, are utilized for propulsion. These propellers have a rapid thrust and steering response, with minimal noise and vibration. The thrusters also feature roll reduction and sleep mode, maximizing station keeping, active motion compensated gangway workability and comfort. The vessel will also be equipped with extensive remote monitoring and support capability provided by Louisiana-based Marine Technologies.
"This full configuration results in a vessel that delivers high efficiency, low power consumption, minimum GHG emissions, maximum workability and the highest levels of comfort. The vessel is also being constructed to incorporate future zero-carbon emission technology to assist in reaching carbon neutral goals," Ørsted said.