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Sarens prepared for North America offshore wind boom

Sarens Sarens_Crane_Newcastle_UK.jpg
The 3,200-tonne capacity SGC-120 was used for load-out and assembly of wind farm modules in Newcastle, UK.
Crane and heavy lift engineering specialist Sarens is targeting growth in the US offshore wind sector ahead of a forecast boom in projects in North America.

Director of Sarens North America, Grant Mitchell, told Seatrade Maritime news that the company is mostly specialized in long-term crane rental and project and refinery work in the US, but offshore wind is expected to soon be a driver for crane demand and the company plans to leverage its experience in European offshore wind projects.

The company closely follows figures from the US government, which last year said offshore wind capacity under federal and state permitting with a signed offtake agreement was 6,439 MW, more than triple levels in 2019.

Sarens is currently seeing most offshore wind project interest around the North East coast of the US, and is working to enter the US market independently and through local partnerships, offering its expertise from successful European projects.

Crane and heavy lift capacity are crucial parts of offshore wind projects, as the capacity and availability of cranes limits the size and weight of the components windfarms can deploy. As soon as the capacity of available cranes increases, component sizes soon follow, said Mitchell.

Mitchell said Sarens was looking at putting some its largest cranes on barges to assist in US offshore wind installation, although typically Sarens will manage the onshore handling and loading of heavy components onto specialist installation vessels.

Sarens recently deployed 88 modular barges to create a platform over half the size of a soccer pitch to accommodate a 1250T class crane and enable it to work in a shallow lake in the Netherlands. The unit installed monopiles for the world’s largest inshore wind farm, Fryslan.

Alongside its crane and heavy lift work, Sarens is promoting its offering as a one-stop shop for Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW), a technology which enables windfarm installation in deeper waters using new anchoring technologies instead of driving foundations into the seabed.

“Floating offshore wind is expected to unlock 80% of global offshore wind resources located in waters deeper than 50m. According to industry estimates, the technical potential for floating wind power is around 7,000 GW for Europe, the US, and Japan combined. Sarens will target this market with its turnkey solutions and crane rental to clients in this sector,” said Mitchell.

The rising interest in offshore wind comes partly a result of the new US administration, Sarens believes, and the green focus of the Biden Presidency is encouraging for new offshore wind projects.

Outside of the North America region, Sarens installs wind turbines and carries out load-ins and load-outs of jackets, pylons, pillars, and other materials used in traditional offshore wind farms. Around 30% of Sarens’ company resources are allocated to projects on wind work, onshore and offshore, a number it expects to grow over the next five years thanks to US offshore projects.

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