Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and BP, announced yesterday that it has awarded a long-term service operations vessel (SOV) contract to Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO).

The plug-in hybrid SOV will be the first in the U.S. offshore wind sector capable of sailing partly on battery power.

The vessel will accommodate up to 60 wind turbine technicians and will be utilized for the safe and efficient operations and maintenance of the Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2 offshore wind farms. The charter agreement has a fixed period of 10 years, beginning in the mid-2020s.

The U.S.-flagged vessel will be Jones Act compliant, with its homeport at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) in New York. The SOV will be built with components from ECO’s supplier base across 34 U.S. states.

The supplier estimates that this will generate over 250 high-skilled US jobs during vessel construction. ECO is also dedicating considerable effort and resources to recruiting and training vessel crew from the New York region. ECO will operate the vessel from its New York office.

The plug-in hybrid vessel will be the first in the U.S. capable of sailing on battery power for portions of the route. The SOV will sail into SBMT on battery power, recharge the battery using shore power and sail out of New York Harbor. The hybrid vessel is certified to Tier 4 emissions standards.

“Equinor and BP’s agreement with Edison Chouest will generate ripple effects throughout the supply chain, creating jobs in numerous states across the country," said Teddy Muhlfelder, vice president, Empire Wind and Beacon Wind, Equinor. “With the first of its kind, plug-in hybrid service operations vessel, Empire Wind will reduce potential emissions from our operations in the New York City area. This is another critical step forward in the development of the offshore wind industry, while helping achieve critical state and federal climate goals."

“We selected Edison Chouest in part for its extensive experience and expertise as a shipbuilder and we look forward to a collaboration beginning with construction and continuing through operations for the next decade or more. This is an important step in our efforts to develop a domestic supply chain in the US for offshore wind,” said Mette H. Ottøy, Equinor's chief procurement officer.

Empire Wind is being developed by Equinor and BP through their 50-50 strategic partnership in the U.S.

Empire Wind is located 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island and spans 80,000 acres, with water depths of between approximately 75 and 135 feet. The lease was acquired in 2017. The projects two phases, Empire Wind 1 and 2, have a total installed capacity of more than 2 GW (816 + 1,260 MW).The project will be a major contributor to meeting New York State’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals. When completed, Empire Wind 1 and 2 will power more than 1 million New York homes.

Equinor and BP are investing in port upgrades to help transform SBMT into a world-class offshore wind staging and assembling facility and to become the operations and maintenance (O&M) base both for Equinor and other project developers going forward.

SBMT will become one of the largest dedicated offshore wind port facilities in the U.S. at approximately 73 acres, with the capacity to accommodate wind turbine generator staging and assembly activities at the scale required by component manufacturers.

SBMT is being redeveloped by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and terminal owner Sustainable South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SSBMT). SSBMT is a joint venture of Red Hook Terminals and Industry City.

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