Edison Chouest to build plug-in SOV for Empire Wind

(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) — Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and BP, has awarded a long-term service operations vessel charter agreement to U.S. marine transportation provider Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO).

The plug-in hybrid service operations vessel (SOV) will be the first in the U.S. offshore wind sector capable of sailing partly on battery power.

The vessel will accommodate up to 60 wind turbine technicians and will be utilized for the safe and efficient operations and maintenance of the Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2 offshore wind farms. The charter agreement has a fixed period of 10 years, with commencement in the mid-2020s.

Empire Wind rendering

The U.S.-flagged vessel will be Jones Act compliant and have its home port at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) in New York. The SOV will be constructed with components from ECO’s extensive supplier base across 34 U.S. states.

The supplier estimates that this will generate over 250 high-skilled U.S. jobs during vessel construction. Edison Chouest Offshore is also dedicating considerable effort and resources to recruiting and training vessel crew from the New York region. ECO will operate the vessel from its New York office.

The plug-in hybrid vessel will be the first in the U.S. capable of sailing on battery power for portions of the route. The SOV will sail into the port of SBMT on battery power, recharge the battery using shore power and sail out of New York Harbor. The hybrid vessel is certified to EPA Tier 4 emissions standards, reaching the highest standard for marine applications.

“Equinor and BP’s agreement with Edison Chouest will generate ripple effects throughout the supply chain, creating jobs in numerous states across the country,” said Teddy Muhlfelder, vice president, Empire Wind and Beacon Wind, Equinor.

“With the first-of-its-kind, plug-in hybrid service operations vessel, Empire Wind will reduce potential emissions from our operations in the New York City area. This is another critical step forward in the development of the offshore wind industry, while helping achieve critical state and federal climate goals,” said Muhlfelder.

“Edison Chouest Offshore will provide a state-of-the-art vessel fit for Empire Wind,” said Mette H. Ottoy, chief procurement officer, Equinor.

“We selected Edison Chouest in part for its extensive experience and expertise as a shipbuilder and we look forward to a collaboration beginning with construction and continuing through operations for the next decade or more. This is an important step in our efforts to develop a domestic supply chain in the U.S. for offshore wind,” said Ottoy.

About Empire Wind

Empire Wind is located 15 to 30 miles southeast of Long Island and spans 80,000 acres, with water depths of between approximately 75 and 135 feet. The lease was acquired in 2017. The project’s two phases, Empire Wind 1 and 2, have a total installed capacity of more than 2 gigawatts (816 plus 1,260 megawatts). The project will be a major contributor to meeting New York State’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals. When completed, Empire Wind 1 and 2 will power more than 1 million New York homes.

– Empire Wind

By Rich Miller