Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. announced today it is moving forward with the design and development of the first U.S.-flagged Jones Act inclined fall pipe vessel for subsea rock installation.
The vessel 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, the Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based dredgiing company said.
Pending business conditions and a final investment decision, GLDD's vessel will be U.S. owned, built and operated by U.S. workers. The vessel is expected to help spur additional job growth and regional economic opportunities corresponding with the establishment of a U.S.-based rock supply chain network for subsea rock installation, with quarries in states along the East Coast. Further, the project should generate additional economic and job opportunities on the Gulf Coast, where the vessel will be built, GLDD said. While the vessel initially would serve the East Coast, GLDD believes it will be available as offshore wind projects develop along the Gulf and West Coasts.
"U.S. offshore wind's potential growth could be a true economic stimulus for America. We believe this is the optimal time for us to leverage our extensive specialized vessel expertise to enter this exciting market now coming to the United States," said Lasse Petterson, GLDD's chief executive officer and president. "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."
GLDD has engaged Ulstein Design and Solutions B.V. for the vessel's conceptual and regulatory design engineering. GLDD plans to design the vessel to state-of-the-art specifications and build it to the highest maritime standards, including best-in-class air-quality controls to adhere to EPA Tier 4 emissions standards. Pending federal permitting and regulatory approvals as well as a final investment decision, the vessel will be operational as early as the first quarter of 2024, to coincide with major offshore wind project construction timelines.
As the leading U.S. dredging company and with over 130 years of experience and expertise in dredging, marine engineering, specialized vessel design and safe offshore operations, GLDD believes its move into the offshore wind energy industry is a natural business progression.
"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."
"We look forward to playing a key role in developing this new industry on the eastern seaboard that will provide multidimensional benefits to our nation," concluded Petterson. "The full potential direct, indirect and induced economic benefits of offshore wind development have yet to be calculated because the various aspects and value of the supply chain are still unknown and yet to be developed. The potential impacts are staggering."
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock is the largest provider of dredging services in the U.S.