Thursday, June 30, 2022

Rhode Island Shipyards to Build Five New Offshore Wind Crew Vessels to Service Ørsted and Eversource’s Northeast Wind Farms

Ørsted and Eversource are bringing more offshore wind jobs to the Northeast, with their selection of two regional vessel operators that will partner with Rhode Island shipyards to build crew transfer vessels (CTVs) serving the offshore wind companies’ Northeast wind farms.

Joint venture partners Ørsted and Eversource will charter five new offshore wind CTVs from New York-based, WindServe Marine and Massachusetts-based, American Offshore Services (AOS). WindServe Marine’s affiliate shipyard, Senesco Marine, at Quonset Point in North Kingstown, R.I., will build three of the vessels and AOS is partnering with Blount Boats & Shipyard, of Warren, to build another two vessels. 

Ørsted and Eversource’s chartering of the vessels will create about 80 local construction jobs at Senesco and Blount Boats, plus another approximately 48 jobs for captains and crew who will work aboard the vessels, primarily during the wind farms’ construction. A number of regional suppliers will provide vessel components, such as electronics, engines, cranes, aluminum, and safety equipment.

“Rhode Island continues to be a national leader in clean energy innovation,” said Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee. “We are proud that these companies chose our shipyards for this major partnership that will bring jobs to the Ocean State. With our blue economy ecosystem, which positions us to support the entire offshore wind supply chain, and substantial proposed investments to expand capacity for offshore wind developers, we are on a path to solidify Rhode Island as the East Coast hub of offshore wind development.”

“Rhode Island knows offshore wind and we are proud to be delivering even more jobs to the Ocean State’s marine trades to build these new crew vessels,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America. “Our continuing commitment to Rhode Island shipbuilders, together with our selection of first-rate regional vessel operators, is just the latest example of our work to build a domestic supply chain to support the growing offshore wind industry.” 

“Rhode Island has a long history of leading in ocean-based industries and has established one of the country’s most innovative and expansive blue economies,” said Joe Nolan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Eversource Energy. “This partnership between two outstanding local shipbuilders and two major vessel operators will be critical as we build and operate our portfolio of Northeast wind farms. Offshore wind is a growing industry with tremendous potential to create jobs and grow the domestic supply chain, and with today’s news, we are proud to once again help turn that promise into a new reality.”

“This is more good news for Rhode Island’s blue economy and maritime industry and it will mean more work at local shipyards,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who led efforts to restore funding for the federal Small Shipyard program after it lapsed for several years, and helped local shipyards secure federal grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.

“The first state to get steel in the water, Rhode Island is becoming a hub for the growing offshore wind industry,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a longtime champion for Rhode Island’s marine trades industry. “Strategic federal investments at Quonset and in our local maritime trades helped attract these jobs to the Ocean State and will continue to pay dividends as offshore wind ramps up.” 

“With Rhode Island’s blue economy continuing to grow, and as we shift our reliance from gas and oil to clean energy and wind, we will continue to see more of these investments and jobs,” said U.S. Representative David N. Cicilline. “With the infusion of infrastructure investments from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, we can continue to develop our ports and pave the way for Rhode Island’s future.” 

“Rhode Island’s blue economy is an engine of growth for our entire state, which is why I’m so proud to be on the forefront of this cutting edge, green technology that will power the region,” said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. “I’m thrilled that our reputation and our investments in the offshore wind sector have brought new, good-paying jobs to Quonset Point and the East Bay.” 

“This announcement is a testament to Rhode Island’s well-established, national leadership in ship-building, offshore wind, marine trades, and the Blue Economy as a whole,” said Rhode Island Commerce Executive Vice President of Business Development Hilary Fagan. “America’s offshore wind industry was born in Rhode Island, and as the sector rapidly grows in the Northeast and across the country, we are proud that our local ports, shipyards, companies and skilled workforce will continue to serve at the center of its supply chain.”

These purpose-built vessels are designed to handle the unique offshore conditions at the wind farms, which will be located 15 miles off the Southern New England coast, and to transport technicians and materials safely to and from the wind farms and local ports.

Construction work is expected to start early this year at Senesco on the 88-foot long WindServe vessels and at Blount Boats on the 101-foot long AOS vessels. All five vessels will be built over the next two years, ready to provide crew transfer support during the construction phases of the Ørsted and Eversource joint venture’s three Northeast projects. The first vessel will be completed by early 2023.

“The AOS newbuild program for Ørsted and Eversource will bring over 40 skilled shipyard jobs to Rhode Island,” said David Kristensson, owner of Northern Offshore Services, a co-owner of AOS. “In addition, this partnership will give dozens of U.S. merchant mariners the opportunity to embark on a new and exciting career path, throughout the Northeast. We are thrilled to bring the first purpose-built hybrid ready CTVs to the U.S. market for Ørsted and Eversource and remain poised on delivering on our promise to bring maximum economic benefit to local suppliers.”

“Blount Boats has emerged as a leader in the CTV space having built two of the three U.S. flagged CTVs currently in operation,” said Marcia Blount, President of Blount Boats, Inc. “Blount looks forward to substantially increasing its highly skilled workforce while maintaining its reputation for quality construction during the build of these hybrid ready CTVs, the first vessels in the AOS fleet.”

“WindServe Marine is excited to continue our CTV build program at Senesco Marine to deliver on our long-term commitments to create local jobs and provide high quality vessel operations for the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Josh Diedrich – Managing Director, WindServe Marine. “We look forward to expanding our partnership with Ørsted, Eversource, and industry stakeholders to ensure the success of U.S. offshore wind projects.”  

“Senesco Marine is proud to continue its partnership with WindServe Marine to build innovative and efficient CTVs for Ørsted and Eversource,” said Ted Williams, President, Senesco Marine. “Capable of builds of all sizes, CTVs are one of many vessel types that Senesco Marine builds with the highest of quality and safety standards. Senesco will commence local Northeast construction on three CTVs in early 2022 to support the expanding offshore wind industry on the East Coast.”  

The two shipyards are leaders in building offshore wind crew transfer vessels: Blount Boats built the country’s first-ever offshore wind crew transfer vessel, the Atlantic Pioneer, which has served Ørsted’s Block Island Wind Farm since the American-first offshore wind farm began operations in 2016. Senesco built the WINDSERVE JOURNEY crew transfer vessel, which began operations in 2020 at the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project; Ørsted supported the engineering, procurement and construction of that offshore wind farm.

Among the largest offshore wind partnerships in the United States, the Ørsted and Eversource joint venture is playing a unique role in the development of a domestic offshore wind supply chain. 

In December 2016, Ørsted and Eversource teamed up to launch a new clean energy industry in the Northeast. This partnership has now grown to include three offshore wind farms including the 704-megawatt Revolution Wind project serving Rhode Island and Connecticut; the 130-megawatt South Fork Wind serving Long Island, and the 924-megawatt Sunrise Wind project serving New York. All together, these projects will generate 1,760 megawatts of clean, renewable energy – enough for more than 1 million homes. The JV has the potential to more than double its existing portfolio within its current jointly-owned uncontracted offshore wind energy lease areas.

About Ørsted Offshore North America

The Ørsted vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted ranks as the world’s most sustainable energy company in Corporate Knights’ 2021 Global 100 index of the most sustainable corporations and is recognized on the CDP Climate Change A List as a global leader on climate action.

In the United States, Ørsted operates the Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, and constructed the two-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project – the first turbines to be installed in federal waters.  Ørsted has secured over 4,000 megawatts of additional capacity through six projects in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Ørsted Offshore’s North American business is jointly headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island and employs approximately 250 people. To learn more visit us.orsted.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@OrstedUS).

About Eversource

Eversource (NYSE: ES), celebrated as a national leader for its corporate citizenship, is the #1 energy company in Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2021 and recognized as one of America’s Most JUST Companies. Eversource transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas and supplies water to approximately 4.3 million customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The #1 energy efficiency provider in the nation, Eversource harnesses the commitment of approximately 9,300 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. The company is empowering a clean energy future in the Northeast, with nationally recognized energy efficiency solutions and successful programs to integrate new clean energy resources like solar, offshore wind, electric vehicles and battery storage, into the electric system. For more information, please visit eversource.com, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. For more information on our water services, visit aquarionwater.com.

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