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Entries in Offshore Wind (5)


A New Model for Offshore Windpower?

According to an article in Maritime Executive, offshore renewable power developers are about to sign an agreement for the construction of islands in the middle of the North Sea as bases for offshore wind facilities. As the article states: “[t]he generated wind energy could then be distributed from the islands over direct current lines to the North Sea countries of the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Belgium. Transmission cables would simultaneously function as interconnectors between the energy markets of the countries, so that besides transmitting wind electricity to the connected countries, the countries could also trade electricity.”

While this approach has some obvious business and environmental ramifications – and undoubtedly unanticipated issue as well – it at least prompts a needed public discussion of what alternative technical approaches and business models might possibly accelerate the implementation of offshore renewable energy, be it wind or hydrokinetic.



Foundations for First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Head for R.I.

Recent reports from the Associated Press indicate that massive steel foundations for the Nation’s first offshore wind project will soon leave fabrication facilities in Houma, Louisiana, destined for Block Island, Rhode Island.  According to Deepwater Wind, the 5-turbine Block Island Wind Farm is scheduled to be online during the third quarter of 2016 and could supply most of Block Island’s power.

The full article can be read here.


Wind Industry Service Operation Vessels Christened in Germany

Siemens and ESVAGT A/S recently announced the christenings of two purpose-built Service Operation Vessels (SOV’s) specifically engineered to service and maintain offshore wind power plants. According to company literature, the christenings demonstrate ESVAGT’s ongoing commitment to transfer their maritime vessel competencies from offshore oil and gas to the somewhat younger offshore wind industry.

While ESVAGT owns the service vessels, Siemens provides their proprietary BlueDriveTM propulsion system to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, as well as hydraulic systems to support the Amplemann active access gangway. The new vessels will purportedly revolutionize offshore wind service by increasing productivity, accelerating response times, and implementing advanced safety mechanisms that will allow turbine access in significant wave heights of up to 2.5 meters (8.2 ft), which is higher than the safety limits of traditional crew transfer vessels (CTV).

The recent investment in the purpose-built vessels reflects a global trend in the offshore wind industry to build wind facilities further offshore. The two recently-christened vessels will service the North Sea and Baltic Sea, while a third vessel will join the fleet in autumn 2016 and service wind facilities off the east coast of England.


New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal

Verrill Dana’s client the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center just released this video:

It’s worth five minutes of your time to see how New Bedford’s Marine Commerce Terminal was built, and how it will operate to support off-shore wind projects and maritime commerce generally. There is no other facility like it in the Western Hemisphere.


"Connecting Offshore Wind Energy to the Mainland Grid"

July’s editorial in Sea Technology magazine, entitled “Connecting Offshore Wind Energy to the Mainland Grid” provides an excellent synopsis of current status of the US offshore wind industry, citing specific projects and describing the technological challenges of undersea power transmission cables.

Two of the “did you knows”:

  •  “export cables are likely to be 10-to-15 miles long—in one continuous length—and weigh up to 4,000 tons. Hence, special-purpose-built vessels will be needed for installation.” 
  • “Approximately 50 percent of all insurance claims and 80 percent of the payouts related to offshore wind farms in Europe are cable-related.”