The rise of Big Wind as a pillar of shipyards


Ten years ago Big Oil was still a reliable mainstay for shipyards specializing in offshore support vessels.

Orders in this neighborhood are now like houndstooth. Big Wind has taken on this role with a constant stream of orders placed for a variety of vessel types.

As the North Sea continues to dominate the market for all classes of wind construction and support vessels, significant activity is growing in Asia-Pacific and the United States, where all tonnage must comply with Jones Law .

The types of vessels and practices developed and perfected in the North Sea will serve as a model for other regions.

The commissioning of service vessels (CSOV) is one example. The developers of the world’s largest offshore wind project, Dogger Bank, have just signed charter agreements for two of these vessels, one with Edda Wind, the other with Awind.

Edda will have the CSOV Edda TBN C490 ready for operation in 2023 to enable the commissioning and construction of the first two phases of Dogger Bank. Edda Wind currently has four CSOVs under construction at the Astilleros Gondan shipyard in Spain, in anticipation of a growing market.

Designed by Salt Ship Design, the vessel is 88 meters long with a 20-meter beam, and is prepared for the installation of zero-emission hydrogen technology.

Awind will deploy the first of its two CSOVs to work at Dogger. The company is a subsidiary of Awilco’s subsidiary Integrated Wind Solutions AS (IWS) and ordered the hybrid-electric CSOVs from China Merchants Industry in Hong Kong in March.

Awind’s contract begins in the second quarter of 2023 and runs for two years. The vessel will initially be used during the commissioning of the 13 megawatt GE Renewable Energy Haliade-X turbines which will be installed at Dogger Bank A and B. Awind currently has two CSOVs on order with China Merchants Industry. They are both due for delivery in 2023. The company has options on four other vessels of the same type.

Dogger Bank is being built in three equal phases of 1.2 GW. The first two phases are a business between Equinor (40%), SSE Renewables (40%) and Eni (20%).

Phase C, due to start in 2025, is currently owned by Equinor (50%) and SSE Renewables (50%).

When completed in 2026, the Dogger Bank wind farm will be able to generate enough electricity to meet around 5% of the UK’s electricity demand.

Focusing on merchant shipping, Danish heavyweight Maersk is in talks with undisclosed equipment suppliers and shipyards about an order for a methanol-powered container ship.

The colorless liquid can be used as a “direct” replacement for petroleum-based fuels with relatively minor modifications to a ship’s engine and fuel system.

It is also easy to store on board and, unlike batteries or hydrogen tanks, it does not take up too much space in the cargo hold.

In March, the logistics giant announced its ambition to build and commission the seemingly carbon-neutral ship in 2023, seven years ahead of the initial target date of 2030.

It won’t be one of Maersk’s mega-carriers. Rather, it will be classified as a power unit with a capacity of approximately 2,000 TEUs.

AP Moller Maersk has some 700 vessels in its fleet and is considered a market leader. This includes ensuring that the Danish group capitalizes on the latest developments in propulsion systems.

Future versions are intended to be dual fuel and capable of running on a carbonless fuel, hence methanol. LNG, the popular transitional fossil fuel of choice for a growing list of shipping companies, has been rejected.

But the zero carbon green option is expensive. Indeed, in order to close the cost gap between fossil fuels and more expensive green fuels, Maersk CEO Soren Skou has proposed a carbon tax of at least $ 450 per tonne of bunker fuels.

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