First Jones Act Offshore Wind Jack-Up Coming in 2018

Zentech Inc. and Renewables Resources International (RRI) have announced their plans to build the first Jones Act compliant, four legged, self-propelled Dynamically-Positioned Level 2 (DP2) jack-up vessel based on a U.S.-built barge.

Image for illustrative purposes only. Source: Deepwater Wind

Zentech plans to install four truss legs with spud cans, a proven oil & gas design, integrated in a newly built hull, the companies said.

This vessel will provide the now evolving U.S. offshore wind industry with a much needed and cost competitive marine logistic solution, converting a Jones Act compliant asset aligned with the conclusions from the European offshore wind learning curve for installing and/or maintaining wind turbines.

The Jones Act vessel is designed to navigate the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier and will carry and install in this configuration components for at least three complete 6-9 megawatt (MW) range wind turbines. The vessel’s jacking system will be rated at a capacity of 16,000 tons.

With evolving innovation, up to four 8MW range, fully assembled wind turbines can be installed using a patented cantilever package. The installation mechanism will be able to align the fully assembled wind turbines to the smallest degree of required accuracy; whether that is a translational or a rotational requirement, according to the developers. Using this concept, the vessel will have the mechanism to enhance its stability to carry fully assembled wind turbines for anticipated 10MW or higher capacity wind turbines.

“With larger scale offshore wind projects following Block Island, the US market requires forward looking marine logistics, such as Zentech’s competitive, Jones Act compliant jack-up installation vessel,” said Andy Geissbuehler, Managing Partner of Renewable Resources International.

“US made, domestically accessible and designed in concert with the advanced European offshore wind industry, this vessel conversion is another example of the important role the US Oil & Gas Industry will play in accelerating the US offshore wind industry.”

Discussions with U.S. shipyards in the Gulf of Mexico and along the U.S. East Coast predict delivery no later than the fourth quarter of 2018. The unit will be constructed utilising U.S.-built components such as barge, legs, spud cans and propulsion.

”The deployment of a U.S. flagged vessel is a positive sign and a step in the right direction for the offshore wind industry in the U.S.,” said Thomas Brostrøm, President of DONG Energy North America.

”This will help in the creation of a sustainable supply chain that includes several suppliers and we welcome initiatives such as this from serious market players in the industry.”

According to the Jones Act, all goods transported by water between U.S. ports need to be carried on U.S.-flagged ships, which were constructed in the U.S, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.