Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and BP, has awarded a long-term service operations vessel (SOV) charter agreement to the US-based Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) to support the Empire Wind offshore wind farm project.
The charter agreement has a fixed period of 10 years, with commencement in the mid-2020s.
The plug-in hybrid SOV will be the first in the US offshore wind sector capable of sailing partly on battery power, the company said.
With an accommodation capacity of up to 60 wind turbine technicians, the vessel will be utilized for operations and maintenance (O&M) of the Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2 offshore wind farms in New York.
The US-flagged vessel will be Jones Act compliant and have its homeport at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), which is currently undergoing a major transformation.
The SOV will be constructed with components from ECO’s supplier base across 34 US states.
Empire Wind, for which Equinor acquired the lease in 2017 and is developing it in two phases, is located 15-30 miles (24-48 kilometres) southeast of Long Island, in water depths of 65-131 feet (20-40 metres).
The project’s two phases have a total installed capacity of more than 2 GW.
The 816 MW Empire Wind Phase 1 wind farm was selected in New York’s first-ever offshore wind solicitation in 2019 alongside Ørsted and Eversource Energy’s Sunrise Wind project.
At the beginning of last year, New York selected the joint venture as the winner of the state’s second offshore wind solicitation, in which the two partners participated with two projects: the 1,260 MW Empire Wind 2 and the 1,230 MW Beacon Wind 1.
Two months ago, Empire Offshore Wind signed a charter agreement with Maersk Supply Service for the vessel that will be used for the installation of the Vestas 15 MW turbines on Empire Wind 1 and 2 offshore wind farms.
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