Lloyd’s Register North America has signed an agreement for a joint development project with naval architects Northeast Technical Services Co (NETSCo) to design and develop a Jones Act-compliant wind turbine installation vessel
As part of the project, NETSCo engineers and naval architects will be responsible for the concept design of the vessel.
NETSCo’s design will be focused on meeting the requirements of current developments along the US east coast and the Great Lakes in terms of 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 yards.
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
NETSCO vice president Jan Flores said, “The lack of Jones Act-qualified compliant wind turbine installation vessels has become a major challenge for offshore wind turbine developers.
“With years of research and development in this industry, it is a perfect opportunity for us to leverage our engineering expertise in a strong collaborative enterprise with LR.”
LR Americas marine and offshore commercial manager Rafael Riva said, “The offshore wind industry is expected to see exponential growth in the US. 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.”
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 to this, 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.