Ørsted and Eversource have selected two vessel operators in Northeast US that will partner with Rhode Island shipyards to build crew transfer vessels (CTVs) serving the two companies’ offshore wind farms in the region.
Joint venture partners Ørsted and Eversource will charter five new offshore wind CTVs from New York-based WindServe Marine and Massachusetts-based American Offshore Services (AOS).
WindServe Marine’s affiliate shipyard, Senesco Marine, at Quonset Point in North Kingstown, R.I., will build three of the vessels and AOS is partnering with Blount Boats & Shipyard, of Warren, to build another two vessels.
Ørsted and Eversource’s chartering of the vessels is expected to create about 80 local construction jobs at Senesco and Blount Boats, plus another approximately 48 jobs for captains and crew who will work aboard the vessels, primarily during the wind farms’ construction. A number of regional suppliers will provide vessel components, such as electronics, engines, cranes, aluminum, and safety equipment.
”Rhode Island continues to be a national leader in clean energy innovation,” said Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee.
”We are proud that these companies chose our shipyards for this major partnership that will bring jobs to the Ocean State. With our blue economy ecosystem, which positions us to support the entire offshore wind supply chain, and substantial proposed investments to expand capacity for offshore wind developers, we are on a path to solidify Rhode Island as the East Coast hub of offshore wind development.”
These purpose-built vessels are designed to handle the unique offshore conditions at the wind farms, which will be located 15 miles off the Southern New England coast, and to transport technicians and materials to and from the wind farms and local ports.
”Rhode Island has a long history of leading in ocean-based industries and has established one of the country’s most innovative and expansive blue economies,” said Joe Nolan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Eversource Energy.
”This partnership between two outstanding local shipbuilders and two major vessel operators will be critical as we build and operate our portfolio of Northeast wind farms. Offshore wind is a growing industry with tremendous potential to create jobs and grow the domestic supply chain, and with today’s news, we are proud to once again help turn that promise into a new reality.”
Construction work is expected to start early this year at Senesco on the 88-foot long WindServe vessels and at Blount Boats on the 101-foot long AOS vessels.
”The AOS newbuild program for Ørsted and Eversource will bring over 40 skilled shipyard jobs to Rhode Island,” said David Kristensson, owner of Northern Offshore Services, a co-owner of AOS.
”In addition, this partnership will give dozens of U.S. merchant mariners the opportunity to embark on a new and exciting career path, throughout the Northeast. We are thrilled to bring the first purpose-built hybrid ready CTVs to the U.S. market for Ørsted and Eversource and remain poised on delivering on our promise to bring maximum economic benefit to local suppliers.”
All five vessels will be built over the next two years, ready to provide crew transfer support during the construction phases of the Ørsted and Eversource joint venture’s three Northeast projects. The first vessel will be completed by early 2023.
”Rhode Island knows offshore wind and we are proud to be delivering even more jobs to the Ocean State’s marine trades to build these new crew vessels,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America.
”Our continuing commitment to Rhode Island shipbuilders, together with our selection of first-rate regional vessel operators, is just the latest example of our work to build a domestic supply chain to support the growing offshore wind industry.”
Blount Boats built the country’s first-ever offshore wind crew transfer vessel, the Atlantic Pioneer, which has served Ørsted’s Block Island Wind Farm since the American-first offshore wind farm began operations in 2016.
”Blount Boats has emerged as a leader in the CTV space having built two of the three U.S. flagged CTVs currently in operation,” said Marcia Blount, President of Blount Boats, Inc.
”Blount looks forward to substantially increasing its highly skilled workforce while maintaining its reputation for quality construction during the build of these hybrid ready CTVs, the first vessels in the AOS fleet.”
Senesco built the WINDSERVE JOURNEY crew transfer vessel, which began operations in 2020 at the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. Ørsted supported the engineering, procurement, and construction of that offshore wind farm.
”WindServe Marine is excited to continue our CTV build program at Senesco Marine to deliver on our long-term commitments to create local jobs and provide high quality vessel operations for the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Josh Diedrich – Managing Director, WindServe Marine.
”We look forward to expanding our partnership with Ørsted, Eversource, and industry stakeholders to ensure the success of U.S. offshore wind projects.”
Ørsted and Eversource are partners on the 704 MW Revolution Wind project serving Rhode Island and Connecticut, the 130 MW South Fork Wind serving Long Island, and the 924 MW Sunrise Wind project serving New York.
The partnership has the potential to more than double its existing portfolio within its current jointly-owned uncontracted offshore wind energy lease areas.
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