Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and bp, has awarded a contract to Maersk Supply Service for charter of its newbuild wind installation vessel (WIV). This vessel, together with US constructed barges and tugs built and operated by Kirby Offshore Wind, will be used for the installation of the project’s Vestas V236-15MW turbines.
The newbuild vessel is planned to be ready for operation for Empire Wind I and II in the mid-2020s. Maersk has developed the vessel concept, which will deliver installation of wind turbines by a Jones Act compliant spread.
“Equinor has worked closely with Maersk for a number of years on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, where we have employed several of their jack-up rigs. Now Equinor and bp are excited to cover new ground together, with the first-of-its-kind wind installation vessel. We will build on all parties’ long history of offshore experience as we extend our collaboration into the renewables business,” says Mette H. Ottøy, chief procurement officer.
Empire Wind 1 and 2, part of the company’s portfolio of offshore wind projects off the US east coast, are key building blocks to accelerate profitable growth in renewables and to deliver on Equinor’s ambition to install 12-16 GW of renewables capacity by 2030.
Maersk’s vessel will be supported by two newbuilt tugs and barges, which will transport the wind turbine components from the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to the Empire Wind lease area, located 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island, New York. The barges and tugs will be constructed and operated by Kirby Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Kirby Corporation. The concept ensures that the vessel can remain in operation while the barges transport turbine components from the staging port on a continual basis.
“We are very pleased with having signed this agreement with Maersk, providing a state-of-the-art vessel for the landmark project in New York demonstrating industry collaboration with the US supply chain in providing new technology and solutions for the US offshore wind market. The Maersk concept will ensure efficient installation of the Empire Wind turbines by using a dock-in feeder solution, which will improve safety by reducing the number of offshore lifts. We are pleased that Maersk is also exploring the opportunity of using climate neutral fuels to operate the wind installation vessel,” says Trond Gulichsen, project director for Empire Wind.
When completed, Empire Wind 1 and 2, will power more than 1 million New York homes. The project will be a major contributor to meeting US and New York State’s energy transition goals.