The Houston-based company Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (GLDD) announced this Thursday that it will develop the first U.S. vessel for subsea rock installation; the decision was taken in advance for an offshore wind industry boom in the Gulf Coast area.
In this regard, the vessel itself represents “a critical advancement in building the future of the new U.S. offshore wind industry, including establishing a U.S.-based rock supply chain network spanning eastern seaboard states with active offshore wind leases,” company’s report reads.
In compliance with the 100-year-old Jones Act, the vessel will be U.S flagged, owned, built and operated by American workers. The vessel is expected to help for growth in the subsea rock installation chain of value, amid an also expected boom in offshore wind farms.
Also, the project would generate job opportunities for Houston families, where it will be built, but also to the entire East Coast area, where the vessel is intended to serve.
“We are initiating this project because we firmly believe that a Jones Act compliant offshore wind subsea rock installation vessel is a critical foundational piece required to advance the U.S. offshore wind energy industry. We are committed to safe and sustainable operations and excited to make history with this landmark vessel,” said Lasse Petterson, GLDD’s CEO.
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Top of the line design for GLDD’s vessel
For the vessel’s design, GLDD has partnered with engineering firms Ulstein Design and Solutions B.V, as it will have state-of-the-art conceptual design and regulatory engineering; the highest maritime standards and best-in-class air-quality controls to adhere to the Environmental Protection Agency emissions standard.
The announcement was praised by the wind industry. “We applaud GLDD’s foresight and decisive action in entering this potentially transformative new industry in its early days. Their new vessel will complete another major piece of the offshore wind industry puzzle,” said Liz Burdock, CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind.
“This milestone brings our nation one step closer to realizing the substantial benefits from clean energy; including the economic growth from projects, supply chain development, and job creation,” she concluded.
This announcement comes just days after Vineyard Wind announced General Electric Renewables as its preferred supplier for the offshore wind farm intended to be built in South Massachusetts.
These technological developments and partnerships are setting the pavement for wind industry to launch in years to come. Vineyard’s decision was also praised by the American Wind Energy Association, saying: “this collaboration takes the country closer to realizing a once in a generation opportunity; that will advance the clean power industry and jumpstart job creation and economic investment along the East Coast,” said Tom Kiernan, AWEA’s CEO.