Norway-based OIM Wind, together with its financial partners, has signed an EPC contract with the CIMC Yantai Raffles Offshore shipyard in China for the construction of an installation vessel capable of installing giant next-generation offshore wind turbines.
The vessel, currently referred to as BT-220IU Wind Installation Unit, will enter into service by the end of 2022 and will be operated by Norwegian company OSM Maritime.
The shipbuilding contract has been signed for the construction of one vessel, with an option to build another one of the same design. The vessel design has been developed by OIM in cooperation with CIMC and its Swedish subsidiary Basstech.
LNG-powered, battery-backed up, and made for 15+ MW wind turbines
The new vessel will be among the largest of its kind in the industry, according to OIM Wind, with a capacity to transport and install four complete sets of the future “XXL” wind turbines, including full height towers that reach more than 130 metres.
“These may be larger than the upcoming GE 13MW and Siemens 15MW turbines, which will be operation from 2023 onwards”, OIM Wind said.
The BT-220IU Wind Installation Unit will feature a Huisman heavy lift crane with a lifting capacity of 2,600 tonnes. The crane will have a main hook height of 165 metres above deck and 195 metres above sea level, even at the vessel’s maximum operational water depth of 67 metres.
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An image rendering new OIM vessel installing a next-generation wind turbine at sea
Furthermore, the vessel has been designed to “have a very green profile”, with LNG-powered engines and an integrated battery pack (ESU) on board to be used as a spinning power reserve, by recovering kinetic energy which can be converted into electricity and stored in the batteries.
“Kongsberg Maritime will supply all of Electro, Instrument, Telecom, engines, thrusters, and anchor winches, as well as be responsible for all Engineering that covers the KM delivery”, OIM Wind said.
The company further added that it was in dialogue with several European and U.S.-based offshore wind developers, and also in direct contract negotiations with companies related to the development of offshore wind farms in the U.S.
If the company reaches an agreement for the U.S. market, the vessel design would be the same as for the units to be built by CIMC in China, however, it would be constructed in the U.S. to meet the requirements of the Jones Act.