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Three Jones Act Compliant Vessels Being Built to Serve Offshore Wind Industry

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

One of the crucial pillars to meet President Biden's goal to build 30 GW of Offshore Wind (OSW) power (by 2030) in U.S. waters will be ramping up the fleet of U.S. operated vessels serving the Offshore Wind industry (OSW). While some vessels can be upgraded coming from the oil and gas industry, the most important vessel, the Wind Turbine Installation Vessel (WTIV), can not be retrofitted from the oil and gas industry’s fleet.

A WTIV is not only longer than any other vessels used by the oil and gas industry (in order to carry a large load like rotors and foundations), it also includes a jack-up system and a special crane that can fit the wind turbine on to the monopile or foundation structure in up to 90 meters height. The height of the towers will even go up to 120-150 meters for the next generation 12-15 MW wind turbines that are expected to be on the market by 2024. Mainly due to the Jones Act, the U.S. OSW industry cannot use European vessels to install turbines in U.S. waters and needs to build and flag its own WTIVs.

As a temporary fix to overcome the vessel shortage (and not violate the Jones Act), the first two OSW projects used the feeder-vessel model when a foreign-flag WTIV anchors at the deployment site but never reaches U.S. shores. All equipment then has to be delivered from the staging port with feeder vessels.

This model will also be used for the first utility scale project at Vineyard Wind 1, a 800 MW wind farm, 15 miles South off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, with a planned connection to grid by 2023. The owner Avangrid and CIP announced in March 2021 a contract with DEME Offshore U.S., who will bring a Danish WTIV from it’s mother company in Denmark, and cooperate with the FOSS Maritime Company of Seattle, WA, who will bring in Jones Act compliant vessels and provide union jobs.

Even if foreign vessels were allowed, the E.U. fleet of 115 WTIVs soon will be running short of vessels that can install the next generation of 12-15 MW turbines. Currently only two vessels are capable to install 12 MW turbines and twelve are in the process to be upgraded. According to World Energy Reports, up to 28 vessels of this size are needed in the near future.

While OSW will profit from the oil and gas industry and its decades of offshore experience in manufacturing and offshore activities, the absence of the WTICs with 12 projects in the pipeline can dramatically impact the timeline to start construction in the ocean. With a total of 28,500 MW of OSW power in 12 different states in various phases, among them 6,500 MW in the permitting process, the last step before construction begins, the time to commit to U.S. manufacturing has come: One Wind Turbine Installation Vessel and two Service Operation Vessels are now being built in U.S. ship yards and will run under U.S. flag, the first one as soon as 2024.

Dominion (in partnership with Ørsted and Eversource)

Wind Turbine Installation Vessel (WTIV), to be named Charybdis

Rendering by Dominion

Construction/Shipyard: Keppel AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas

Assigned to project: Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind by 2023; continue with Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind

Costs: $500 million

Specs: 144 meters/472 feet vessel, 119 crew

First port assignment: New London, CT - State Pier


  • capable to install 12 MW or bigger turbines

  • Huisman crane (Netherlands) - fully electrically driven

Announced in 2/2021, updated 6/2021

+ + + + + + + + + +

Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO), Ørsted, and Eversource

Service Operations Vessel (SOV)

Rendering by Ørsted

Shipyard/Construction: Edison Chouest’s with shipyards in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana and suppliers of major components in North Carolina and Illinois (steel and main engines).


- 80 meters/262 feet long, 70 crew

- ABS class certification

- diesel-electric power that meets EPA Tier 4 emission standards

Announced in 10/2020

+ + + + + + + + + +

Crowley of Jacksonville, FL and ESVAGT (Denmark)

Service Operations Vessel (SOV)

Rendering by Crowley

Crowley (founded in 1892) is experienced in offshore oil and gas service operation and formed a New Energy division to serve offshore wind industry in early 2021.

ESVAGT has served Danish oil- and gas industry since 1981 and became one of the larges offshore wind EU partners with 40 vessels operating.

Announced 3/2021

Updates since publication:

US offshore pricing stand-off raises vessel sourcing risks

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