Huisman to supply crane for first US offshore wind installation vessel

© Dominion Energy

US energy company Dominion Energy has selected Dutch crane specialist Huisman to supply the crane for the first Jones Act compliant offshore wind installation vessel.

Huisman will be supplying a crane that will be able to lift 2,200 tonnes and will enable the installation of the new generation state-of-the-art wind turbines. The vessel is expected to be ready in 2023.

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 law therefore makes it difficult to use existing installation vessels from Europe as they are not allowed to sail with components between the American ports and the construction site. In the Block Island offshore wind project, a way was found to use an installation vessel from Europe, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Tern. The Brave Tern transported the 5 nacelles from France to the construction site. The tower sections and rotor blades were supplied by US vessels and then installed by the Brave Tern. This would be too expensive for larger projects.

The US has a pipeline of more than 5 GW of offshore wind power. Dominion Energy indicates that it expects that the new wind turbine installation vessel can be used for these projects and thus justifies the investment. Dominion Energy therefore announced in May this year that it is leading a consortium that will build a Jones Act compliant installation vessel. The new vessel will be deployed from the Hampton Roads region of Virginia using an American crew.

Offshore wind power is an essential part of Dominion Energy’s comprehensive sustainable strategy to meet the standards set forth in the Virginia Clean Economy Act and to achieve its own goal of zero net CO2 emissions by 2050.

In June 2020, the company completed installation of the 12 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project located approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The project consists of 2 wind turbines. Survey and geotechnical investigations are currently being carried out at the site of the eponymous large-scale project. The project immediately adjacent to the existing project will eventually have 2,600 MW of capacity.