Eneti in Talks to Build Jones Act Wind Turbine Installation Vessel

scorpio bulkers
Illustration courtesy Eneti

Published May 12, 2021 6:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

Eneti, the NYSE-listed shipowner formerly known as Scorpio Bulkers, announced Tuesday that it has ordered a new wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) from South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. In addition, the firm said that it is in advanced talks with American shipbuilders for the construction of a Jones Act-compliant WTIV.

Wind turbine installation vessels are high-spec jackups with heavy cranes, and they are some of the costliest vessels afloat (short of drillships). The contract price with DSME for one vessel is $330 million, and it will be delivered in the third quarter of 2024. In addition, Eneti holds an option to order an additional WTIV at the same price.

The new WTIV will be built to a design by GustoMSC, a subsidiary of National Oilwell Varco. It will be fitted with a 2,600 ton leg encircling crane (built around one of the vessel's jack-up legs) from Dutch heavy lift supplier Huisman Equipment. With this arrangement, the vessel will be capable of installing turbines of up to 20 megawatts in size - far larger than any turbine in existence today - in water up to depths of 210 feet. It will be possible to retrofit the WTIV at a later date to operate on LNG or ammonia, Eneti said. 

"Since last August, we have been unequivocal about our intention to enter the wind turbine installation sector. This contract with Daewoo is a milestone for the Company, as it reflects months of customer engagement and collaboration with partners, both old and new. This vessel will have the advanced lifting capabilities and energy efficiency that offshore wind developers require, not just today but well into the next decade," said Emanuele Lauro, the CEO of Eneti and Scorpio Tankers and the president of the Monaco Chamber of Shipping. 

New Jones Act WTIV

In order to carry cargoes between U.S. points, including ground-fixed installations on the U.S. continental shelf, a ship must be built, owned, crewed and flagged in the United States. This means that if a WTIV wishes to load up with turbine components in a U.S. port, then transport those components to an offshore location in the U.S. EEZ or OCS, the ship must be made in America. 

At the same time as it announced its DSME order, Eneti said that it is in advanced discussions with several American shipbuilders for the construction of a Jones Act-compliant WTIV. This vessel would be constructed, financed, and operated by American citizens, and would be targeted at the growing demand for offshore wind installation capacity in the U.S. market. If ordered, it would be the second U.S.-made WTIV, following Keppel AmFELS' groundbreaking $450 million project for Dominion Energy. 

"We are laying the groundwork for a Jones-Act compliant WTIV to address the American mandate for offshore wind development. The growing calls for a safe, efficient, American-constructed and American-operated asset have been clear and loud. We are intent on providing a state-of-the-art solution to our customers so that they can comply with the Jones Act as they bring renewable energy to the U.S. consumer," said Lauro in a statement.