Bourbon Expands Offshore Renewable Energy Focus with Wind Maintenance

offshore wind farm maintenance services in France
IWS is building four CSOVs in China and Bourbon will market the services in France (IWS)

Published Jun 16, 2022 7:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

France’s Bourbon group is partnering with Wilhelmsen’s start-up Integrated Wind Solutions to provide services for the commissioning and maintenance of offshore wind farms in France’s developing renewable energy market. Bourbon group which has been a leader in the offshore oil and gas marine services sector since the 1990s is the latest example of offshore companies seeking to further their growth as a services provider for the offshore wind sector. This is the next phase in a strategy to reposition the company launched at the end of 2020.

The partnership allows Bourbon to market and operate the IWS’s “Skywalker class” windfarm specialized support walk-to-work vessels in France. IWS, which was launched in 2021 by Wilhelmsen’s Awilco, currently has four commissioning service operations vessels (CSOVs) under construction, the two first IWS vessels will be delivered in mid-2023, and the remaining two in the first half of 2024. The company also holds options for ordering two additional “Skywalker class” vessels.

Bourbon highlights Frances’ ambitions for its offshore wind market, with planning underway for more than 7GW by 2030. With this partnership, Bourbon plans to offer a range of services dedicated to the maintenance of offshore wind farms. Already involved in the installation of floating wind farms, the company is seeking to strengthen its ability to meet the major challenges of these large-scale projects.

“This partnership will enable our two companies to offer full, adapted, and innovative services in the French wind market,” said Rodolphe Bouchet, CEO of Bourbon Marine & Logistics. “This agreement also confirms Bourbon’s commitment to contribute to the growth of the renewable energy industry.”

ISW recently reported that the keel for the first of their new vessels was laid at the China Merchants Industry shipyard in China and that work has already started on the second of the vessels. When the first of the class is delivered, she will commence work under a charter at the Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

According to ISW, these hybrid-powered vessels will be among the first vessels in the industry capable of zero-emission operations. The vessels are designed by Kongsberg Maritime and equipped with the latest generation fully compensated gangway and 3d crane. The vessels have several industry firsts, such as the largest battery pack with solar panels for additional charging, hull and propulsion design increasing operability and reducing emissions, and an energy consumption estimated to be 20 percent lower than comparable CSOVs currently under construction. The “Skywalker class” vessels will be 295 feet long with a total capacity of 120 personnel.