Offshore wind turbine installation is a growing sub-sector of the heavy-lift market, as international demand for renewable energy gathers pace. The need to handle larger, more powerful turbines, including 14MW models, is fuelling demand for vessels that can deliver the goods and remain on site for safe, efficient installation projects.
This is good news for shipbuilders across the world. As one example, Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) was recently contracted to build a wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) for shipping operator Scorpio Bulkers. According to reports, the order, valued at US$265-290 million, includes options for a further three WTIVs of the same type – namely, GustoMSC’s NG-16000X class. DSME will deliver the vessel in 2023. The WTIV will use a 1,500tonne-capacity leg-encircling crane, supplied by Huisman Equipment, to install turbines onto foundations at a height of more than 185m above sea level and in waters deeper than 65m. It will also deploy hybrid battery power, reports indicate.
This isn’t GustoMSC’s only recent contract in this sector; Croatian builder Brodosplit has been contracted to produce two NG-14000XL WTIVs for Triumph Subsea Services. Both will initially use hybrid propulsive technology before upgrading to fuel cell technology at a later date, in line with Triumph’s mission to achieve Net Zero status by 2035. The NG-14000XL design measures 139m x 50m and features 4,600m2 of free deck space and accommodation for 130 persons. These units feature an overall leg length of 104.5m (or 79m beneath the hull), enabling them to operate in depths of 65m. A main crane enables this type to lift 1,500tonnes at 35m. Delivery is anticipated in Q3 2022.
Meanwhile, Dayang Offshore Equipment, China is building two self-elevating/self-propelled WTIVs for compatriot operator OuYang Offshore.The vessels will be christened OuYang 003 and OuYang 004. Dayang Offshore Equipment also built their predecessors, OuYang 001 and OuYang 002, and the construction of all four have been / will be supervised by consultancy AqualisBraemar. The WTIVs in this series measure 75.6m x 40m and 7m in depth, and can accommodate up to 68 persons. Each features four hydraulic pin legs and can operate in depths of 50m. Other equipment includes a 600tonne-capacity crane, fitted around one of the stern legs, which can lift turbines to 140m above sea level. AqualisBraemar adds: “Both units are capable of the lifting installation of 10MW wind turbines in China.”
In Norway, Ocean Installer has teamed up with Vard Group to develop an advanced WTIV for larger-sized turbines and components. Vard says that the ship will be able to install wind turbine components weighing more than 1,000tonnes at heights exceeding 150m above sea level.