Consortium Develops Game-Changing, Jones Act Compliant Offshore Wind Installation Solution

A consortium led by Hamburg-based ONP Management and Boston-based Renewable Resources International has developed the Jones Act compliant transport and installation vessel solution FEEDERDOCK, dedicated to address the unique US requirements and the evolving shortage of offshore wind installation assets. 
Consortium Develops Game-Changing, Jones Act Compliant Offshore Wind Installation Solution
Visualization of FEEDERDOCK bow view, jacked-up with crane on rest (Source: Overdick)

In collaboration with a US-based global asset manager with over a decade of experience in energy transition, the FEEDERDOCK Jones Act Marine Logistics Solution has been advanced to market readiness. 

The parties engaged Hamburg-based Tractebel Overdick, a naval architects group and specialist for the design of heavy lift jack-up vessels. Tractebel Overdick delivered the design for the INNOVATION, one of the most successful heavy lift jack-up vessels to date and developed the complete design and engineering package of the FEEDERDOCK main vessel from the initial concept design throughout the basic design phase.

The FEEDERDOCK assets will be operated by Bremenbased Atheleon, formerly known as SAL Renewables and part of the Harren Group, who have served the offshore wind industry worldwide with comprehensive marine engineering, maintenance and logistics services for many years.

With a crane capacity of 3,000 tons and a crane hook height of up to 182 meters above deck, FEEDERDOCK is designed to install the 25 MW wind turbine generation including foundations up to 2,800 tons. Its leg length of 131 meters grants the ability to cope with water depths of up to 70 meters. FEEDERDOCK applies proven European installation methodology with its U-shaped, global heavy lift jack-up installation vessel, paired with US built Jones Act Articulated Tug Barges (ATBs) docking inside the installation vessel before jacking-up.

This unique arrangement avoids challenging “floating-to-fixed” component transfers at sea by enabling a secure “fixed-to-fixed” turbine installation process which is preferred by the leading wind turbine manufacturers.

“We are proud of leading the development of this innovative and future-oriented project with an unrivaled capability for the rising offshore wind sector in the United States”, said Martin Rahtge, Managing Partner at ONP Management.

“Our experience, striving from the successful design, construction and long-term operation of four heavy lift installation vessels, including both the INNOVATION and VOL AU VENT, illustrates our ability to serve the development of this game-changing project and to grant a successful project realization.

"All our lessons learned have been incorporated into the FEEDERDOCK design and are constantly being benchmarked with the industry.”

Andy Geissbuehler, Managing Partner at Renewable Resources International, commented, “FEEDERDOCK addresses several developer challenges: The solution allows full port flexibility, enables local content sourcing, as the feeders can reach facilities behind bridges, and provides significant productivity advantages by shortening installation campaigns.

"We are committed to deliver a timely and effective marine logistics solution to support the rapid growth of offshore wind in the US and globally.”

As a result of its unique design and installation methodology, FEEDERDOCK will activate exceptional time and cost savings for the developers’ offshore installation campaigns. Project-specific modelling has validated productivity advantages greater than 25% compared to alternative “floating-to-fixed” concepts.

Further, the FEEDERDOCK solution has been validated by third party verification for Jones Act compliance and the feeder docking simulations have been confirmed by the successful execution of physical tank tests.

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) is accompanying the project to review and class the vessel and has issued the Approval in Principle (AIP) in 2020, constituting compliance of the vessel design with the applicable requirements.

American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Head of Global Offshore Wind Greg Lennon stated, “We are proud to provide our services to this innovative marine logistics solution which we believe will serve the rapidly expanding US offshore wind industry well.”

“We believe that the fixed-to-fixed feeder concept will provide developers a significant competitive advantage and we are well prepared to add the three Jones Act Articulated Tug Barges (ATBs) to our US operations and to operate the FEEDERDOCK heavy lift jack-up installation vessel long-term,” said Heiko Felderhoff, Managing Director at Atheleon.

Enabled by shipyard capacity reservation and secured supply chain of experienced and reputable industry leaders, the vessel construction works are planned to commence in 2023. FEEDERDOCK is scheduled to be ready for operations in US waters in 2026, meeting the timeline to support the upcoming utility-scale US offshore wind projects

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