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The logistical complexities of Vineyard Wind’s maritime dance

Source: DEME Group Installation vessel ORION
Vineyard Wind Progress: 62 turbines generating 806 MW in the works. Components and substation construction advancing.

Offshore wind continues to advance, with work continuing on the Vineyard Wind project (a joint venture of utility Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners), where turbine components are now being transported out of New Bedford, Massachusetts to the lease area in the Atlantic Ocean, south of Martha’s Vineyard. When completed, 62 turbines will be generating 806 mW of electricity to consumers in Massachusetts. Work began earlier this summer on an electrical substation (built in Denmark and transported to the lease area,  on a vessel owned by GPO Logistics). Around the same time, in advance of the turbine installation for the project, installation began of monopiles for the project.  Then, in September, components for the first of the 13mW GE Haliade-X turbines began moving out of New Bedford’s Marine Commerce Terminal- serving offshore wind, along with that port’s extensive commercial fishing fleet 

Vineyard Wind’s complement of equipment, and the logistics for moving components, show the complexities of navigating the U.S. Jones Act, along with the creative responses by industry participants. Under the Jones Act, movements between U.S. points (such as a port and a fixed structure on the seabed) must be performed on vessels operated by U.S. companies, registered in the U.S. and built in a domestic yard. Installation of the substation was accomplished by Orion, owned by Belgian-domiciled DEME.  The transportation of the monopiles (manufactured in Spain) out to the lease area (on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf) saw them trans-shipped through Halifax, Nova Scotia. The trans-Atlantic transport leg has been performed in starting in late Spring by GPO Grace, a heavylift vessel owned by GPO. From Halifax, the monopiles have been taken to the lease area by Orion. Meantime, the heavy-lifter UHL Felicity, owned by United Heavy Lift, transported the first nacelles for Vineyard Wind, from France. The blades, meanwhile, are being shuttled inbound from Gaspe, Quebec (where GE has a manufacturing facility) on another heavylifter- the Netherlands flag Rolldock Sky). Meantime, two vessels from Jan Du Nuul, Isaac Newton (cable layer) and Adhémar de Saint-Venant (a cable layer/fall-pipe rock layer), are also on scene.


Sister vessel to ROLLDOCK SKY Source: Roll Group   

Transfer of European multi-decade experience in offshore electricity generation to  the U.S. offshore arena has been a key dynamic of the business  dynamic. DEME, which had installed the electrical substation and is transporting monopiles, will be installing the turbines at Vineyard Wind (and will have a similar role in other projects along the U.S. East Coast). For shuttling turbine components out of New Bedford to the lease site, DEME has joined forces with U.S. stalwart tug/ barge specialist Foss Maritime, based on the U.S. west coast. Foss has been outfitting two Jones Act compliant deck barges, Marmac and Foss Prevailing Wind, (paired with tugs Nicole Foss and  Michele Foss)  for these moves. According to Avangrid: “The barges utilize a specially designed Barge Master technology that uses a patented control system and cylinders that support a platform and actively compensate the motions of the barge. The wind turbine components are fastened to the motion compensated platform for a smooth ride in ocean conditions.”

In coming years, as offshore wind ramps up along the U.S. East Coast, the tug-barge model could become increasingly prevalent where Jones Act compliant transport is required. GE has been working towards construction of two facilities for manufacturing blades and nacelles for 13 mW (and larger) Haliade-X turbines, at the Port of Coeymans- about 120 miles up the Hudson River from the Port of New York.


Source: Vineyard Wind