Empire Offshore Wind signs vessel charter agreement with ECO

Edison Chouest Offshore

Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and bp, has awarded a service operations vessel charter agreement to US marine transportation provider, Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO).

The plug-in hybrid service operations vessel (SOV) will be the first in the US 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 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.

The US-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 supplier base across 34 US states. The supplier estimates that this will generate over 250 high-skilled US jobs during vessel construction.

Edison Chouest Offshore is also be recruiting and training vessel crew from the New York region. ECO will operate the vessel from their New York office.

The plug-in hybrid vessel will be the first in the US 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 “tier 4 emissions standards”, reaching the highest standard for marine applications.

“This is another critical step forward in the development of the offshore wind industry, while helping achieve critical state and federal climate goals,” says Teddy Muhlfelder, vice president, Empire Wind and Beacon Wind, Equinor.

“We selected Edison Chouest in part for its expertise as a shipbuilder. This is an important step in our efforts to develop a domestic supply chain in the US for offshore wind,” says Mette H. Ottoy, chief procurement officer, Equinor.