HOUSTON – Lloyd’s Register North America Inc. (LR) has signed an agreement for a joint development project (JDP) with Northeast Technical Services Co. Inc. (NETSCo) to design and develop a Jones Act-compliant wind turbine installation vessel.
The Jones Act, or Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires any vessel transporting cargo between US ports, or between US ports and offshore facilities, to be built and flagged in the US.
In 2019, the US House of Representatives passed the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act which includes an amendment that would enforce Jones Act requirements for all offshore renewable energy production. This means that US-built ships, flagged in the US, and manned by US nationals will be required for the installation of wind power plants, and for the supply and service of facilities.
In addition, last week the US Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2021. This bill includes an amendment ensuring full enforcement of the Jones Act and other federal laws in offshore wind development.
As part of the JDP, NETSCo engineers and naval architects will be responsible for the concept design of the WTIV. The design will be focused on meeting the requirements of current developments along the US East Coast and the US Great Lakes such as crane capacity, deck space, and water depth. Another key feature of the design is that it will use hull shapes that are common in the US shipbuilding market, therefore ensuring it could be built in US shipyards, the companies said.
LR will review and evaluate NETSCo’s concept design to ensure the vessel complies with applicable rules and regulations. LR’s team of technical compliance experts will also evaluate the design against international codes and standards and the US Coast Guard’s Code of Federal Regulations.
Jan Flores, vice president of NETSCo, said: “The lack of Jones Act-qualified compliant wind turbine installation vessels has become a major challenge for offshore wind turbine developers…This collaboration was a cumulation of efforts to better support the offshore wind turbine market with a Jones Act-qualified vessel alternative, as well as offering conversion options for vessels that have been dry-docked during this economic downturn.”
Rafael Riva, LR’s Americas Marine & Offshore Commercial Manager, said: “There are currently no US-built wind turbine installation vessels, and if the sector takes off as expected, there will be a pressing requirement for such vessels.”