The first US-built offshore wind service ship reaches a milestone

The first-ever US-built offshore wind service operations vessel (SOV) is marking its 50% completion milestone this week.

Offshore wind service operations vessels serve as floating accommodations for offshore wind technicians who will work at sea over the life of the wind farms, servicing and maintaining the turbines. The SOV also holds all of the tools the technicians need.

Louisiana-based shipbuilding company Edison Chouest Offshore is manufacturing the first US SOV, the 260-foot Eco Edison, in Terrebonne Parish on the Gulf Coast, and it will be delivered to Danish wind giant Ørsted and New England energy provider Eversource in 2024. There are 400 workers constructing the SOV, and the Eco Edison will house 60 wind technicians.

The SOV includes special features like a “walk-to-work” motion-compensated gangway that allows technicians to easily and safely access the wind turbines. A smaller “daughter” craft onboard can be deployed to maneuver crew across the wind farms.

The Eco Edison is a significant US milestone because it will be the first Jones Act-qualified wind farm SOV in the US. The century-old Jones Act is a federal law that restricts water transport of cargo between US ports to ships that are US-owned, crewed, registered, and constructed.

The Eco Edison will be sent to Port Jefferson, New York, where it will serve South Fork Wind, Sunrise Wind, and Revolution Wind. Once online, those three offshore wind farms combined are expected to generate about 1.7 GW of energy, which will power over 1 million homes.

Ørsted’s first cohort of US offshore wind turbine technicians is currently completing extensive training, preparing to begin work offshore when South Fork Wind is completed later this year.

Vessels from other ports in the Gulf of Mexico are already supporting the South Fork Wind project’s construction.

Read more: The US’ first commercial offshore wind farm kicks off turbine construction

Photo: Ørsted and Eversource

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