Designers are working to create new solutions to help support the anticipated rapid expansion of the offshore energy sector that requires increasing numbers of wind farm installations under tight timelines. In the latest development, the American Bureau of Shipping has granted approval in principle (AIP) to a coordinated design developed by Friede and Goldman for a wind turbine installation vessel that would operate in conjunction with a power barge system .
The designers said they are drawing on their long experience with jack-up vessels to develop a new approach that will extend the operational window on site while reducing costs and proving greater productivity for the installation operation. The design combines a barge, which can be built to be Jones Law compliant, with a lifting system on the WTIV. The design has been reviewed in accordance with the ABS 2017 guidance notes on the review and approval of new designs.
“To reach the scale of the U.S. offshore wind market by 2030, the industry will depend on delivering the variety of vessels that will be needed to install and service the turbines, while navigating various port constraints,” said Greg Lennon, ABS Vice President, Global Offshore Wind. “This design from F&G is the latest that we are proud to be able to assist you with with our in-depth knowledge of US regulations and our deep involvement with the entire offshore wind supply chain here in the US”
According to F&G, typical supply vessels are inherently risky due to movement when handling turbine equipment. They noted that cargo generally cannot be unloaded if a barge exceeds the very low limits of its movement. This reduces the operating window of the typical WTIV and is often remedied by installing expensive high-tech equipment to dampen motion.
Friede & Goldman’s BargeRack is a unique power solution that eliminates barge motion. The barge arrives loaded with wind turbine components and is lifted onto the WTIV. According to the designers, this will make installation operations simple, safe and optimized for maximum uptime by extending the operational weather window.
“F&G has developed a superior feeder vessel solution. Typical supply solutions are inherently risky due to movements of supply vessels with impact on equipment transfer. We solved this problem by completely eliminating the movement of the supply vessel, as well as reducing the cost of the supply vessel by an order of magnitude compared to other supply vessels,” said Robert Clague, vice -president of engineering at F&G.
The BargeRack system can be built in the USA to meet Jones Act requirements and use existing US infrastructure to maximize efficiency.