Mv. ECO Edison in New Orleans.
Boats & Barges

Ørsted, Chouest Christen First American-Built Offshore Wind Operations Vessel

Denmark-based Ørsted, a leader in developing offshore wind energy in the United States, and Cut Off, La.-based Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) held a christening May 11 in New Orleans for a first-of-its-kind vessel to service America’s offshore wind industry.

In a Mississippi riverfront ceremony outside the Port of New Orleans’ administration building, Jennifer Scalise, wife of U.S. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), christened the mv. ECO Edison, the first-ever U.S.-flagged offshore wind service operations vessel (SOV). Both Steve Scalise and U.S. Rep. Troy Carter (D-La.) were also in attendance, along with senior executives from Ørsted and ECO.

The ECO Edison stretches 262 feet long and has accommodations for 60 crew members and offshore wind turbine technicians. The ECO Edison will be deployed to Ørsted and Eversource’s wind projects off the coast of New England.

“The Gulf Coast region is playing a huge role in the growing U.S. offshore wind supply chain, using their decades of experience to deliver more homegrown American energy and serving as one example of Ørsted’s more than $20 billion of investments into the United States,” said David Hardy, group executive vice president and CEO of Americas at Ørsted. “Thank you to Edison Chouest for delivering this milestone—building the first American-made service operations vessel. Our team can’t wait to put her in service, with state-of-the-art safety technologies and features to ensure comfort at sea.”

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IECO first announced execution of a long-term charter agreement with Ørsted and Eversource for a Jones Act-compliant SOV in October 2022, with ECO engineering, constructing and operating the vessel, which would feature staterooms with private bathrooms, an exercise room, a movie/training room, a café and multiple lounges.

Chouest began construction on the ECO Edison just over two years ago, building components at ECO shipyards in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida and sourcing components from 12 states. The ECO Edison features four Caterpillar 3512E Tier 4 generators from Caterpillar Marine in Houston. Brad Johnson, vice president and general manager of Caterpillar Marine, said those gensets have the capability to run on blue and green fuel as supply becomes available.

“The U.S. EPA Tier 4-certified Cat 3512E engines are built with the highest durability and are ready to be dual-fuel methanol converted in the future, ensuring that Ørsted can always meet its needs, both today and long into the future,” Johnson said.

The ECO Edison has diesel-electric propulsion, with the Caterpillar gensets driving Voith Schneider Propellers through a GE power conversion system.

The ECO Edison features a 105-foot “walk to work” motion-compensated gangway that was engineered and constructed by Ulmatec Handling Systems. The gangway, which has a telescopic stroke of up to 39 feet, allows safe, efficient transfer of crew members and cargo between the vessel and wind platforms in wave heights greater than 8 feet. Offshore, the gangway can support cargo lifts up to 3 tons, or up to 6 tons inshore. With its lifting cylinders powered by accumulators and its telescope powered by electricity, the gangway, when in use, actually facilitates power regeneration into the vessel grid. The gangway supports a landing height ranging between 50 feet and 91 feet above the waterline.

The ECO Edison also carries a “daughter” craft onboard, which will allow wind turbine technicians to maneuver across a wind farm.

Gary Chouest, president of Edison Chouest Offshore, said successfully delivering the ECO Edison was a team effort that will pay dividends for a long time.

“We’re incredibly proud that our shipyards, engineers and more than 600 shipbuilders have now delivered a U.S.-first vessel that will support offshore wind energy for years to come for our trusted partners at Ørsted,” Chouest said. “Just as several of our vessels supported the construction of the first utility-scale offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind Farm, so too will the ECO Edison lead the way as this first-ever American-made offshore wind SOV.”

According to Ørsted, the ECO Edison will conduct operations and maintenance work at its South Fork, Revolution and Sunrise wind projects. All three projects are located east of Long Island, N.Y., and south of Rhode Island.

Caption for photo: Mv. ECO Edison in New Orleans.