Offshore Wind Farms


#1

Offshore wind farm and their support vessels have been mentioned in several different threads earlier. It is time to have a separate thread for this subject.

It is fast becoming a very important offshore business and employs numerous mariners, vessels and equipment suppliers around the world. Will this also be the case in the US in the Future? What say you???

More and more of the electric power consumed in the UK, Germany, Denmark and Netherlands especially are from wind farms and the cost of producing such power is now becoming competitive with Oil, Gas and Coal fired power plants.
Here is an article that sums it up: https://gcaptain.com/after-brexit-bl...carbon-prices/


New Offshore Wind Project Planned for California
#2

The pattern of usage in the U.S. will be interesting. I know offshore wind farms have been a focus of debate on the East Coast, where a lot of people have expensive shoreside property and don’t want their view spoiled. But the population is dense back there, and it’s a big country. You seldom heard about offshore wind where I live, in Washington State. We have lots of coastline, but we also have huge areas of empty, semi-desert land inland, owned by Uncle Sam. Wind farms are going up there left and right, because there are few people to complain in those areas. (It helps that a lot of the wind turbines are going up along the edges of a vast Army firing range). The wind might not be as steady as it is at sea, but Ellensburg, Washington is still a blowhole.

A lot of the West is like that I think: lots of government land where the wind blows more often that not, so it is easy to avoid controversy and set up the wind turbines inland. As for the Gulf Coast and East Coast I cannot speak. I have seen wind turbines in Alaska, in places as remote as the Yukon River. But the population is so tiny, and the land so vast, that once again it is easier for the wind turbines to be erected at windy spots ashore, rather than at sea.


#3

How can a few wind mills “spoil the view” of an empty horizon? At least there is something there to look at, not just a straight line and maybe some clouds. Maybe they want to ban ships sailing past as well?

This same prblem also apply in other countries.
Remember The Donald threatened to pull out of a golfing project in Scotland because there were going to be some windmills miles offshore?

There may be a way around this problem, : https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/31/california-wind-farm-energy-trident
If, or rather WHEN, this becomes reality, US mariners and their employers better be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that arises, otherwise there will be an exodus across the Atlantic not seen since the great migration.


#4

Demographics and technology always steers the issue. Here in the U.S, in the PNW, we’re lucky to have large amounts of hydroelectric power. While our mid-sized population is growing rapidly, technology keeps reducing our per-capita electrical needs. I toured the power generators for the Seattle area recently, up at Ross Dam. They haven’t added a generator in a generation, even though Seattle is growing by leaps and bounds. Reason: electrical devices are becoming more energy efficient. Remember the hue-and-cry a few years ago about Obama taking away our God-given incandescent light bulbs? The local result of that initiative is that, while Seattle rapidly grows, her energy needs remain nearly constant. LED lights are transforming the power economy. So, when environmentalists call for carbon neutral wind farms,there is no huge pressure for them based on power needs, and when they do go in, because of carbon concerns, it is easier to put them ashore.

Down in California its a whole different deal. Big population, rapidly growing, raised on the American promise that you can have everything you want: ample power, beautiful views, bright lights and untouched environment. There are a lot of contentious voters with different agendas, so my guess it is politically expedient again to simply put the wind farms inland. That news article you posted about Cambria, California: perfect example of NIMBYism. Cambria is a wealthy, litigious enclave, whose citizens know how to ride their legislators. I think Clint Eastwood was mayor there for awhile. The citizens of Cambria–and California–are all for the environment, as long as you don’t mar their horizon.

We’re a country rich in resources. This embarrassment of riches is sometimes hard to look past. We have hydroelectric power, nuclear power, coal. What we don’t have we can readily buy from the energy superpower called Canada. Just when it seems like we are going to make a decision about investing more in solar or wind energy sources, cheap natural gas shows up and proves irresistible as an energy source.

Lastly, the approval to put up the offshore wind farms, and much of the money, comes from the taxpayer, as administered by Congress. We have a notorious do-nothing Congress that can’t agree on what side the Sun rises up in the morning,let alone the existence of global warning or ocean acidification. So while the ocean wind farms will go in eventually in a big way (probably), there is a lot slowing down the process in the U.S.


#5

I was on regular runs into Martinez Ca back in '03 and '04. There was a large wind farm across the bay. I don’t remember seeing any of the windmills in operation.


#6

OK, so you may have to wait a while before it become a major industry for all the reasons given above, but it is still just a matter of time, not if.

With floating Wind Mills it is possible to move into quite deep water. Possibly out of sight of the rich people with beach property?
I know that the continental shelf on the West Coast is narrow, but how far out do you need to go to find water depth >300 m.? (1000 ft.)

Off the East Coast, which is probably a more likely place for major Offshore wind development, the self is wider before the slope into deep ocean. Here it should be possible to place wind farm far enough from land to where they become “invisible” from an eye height of say 20 - 30 m., even on a clear day.

If the price of wind power gets cheaper than the alternatives it will force itself on you, despite the inertia of Congress and resistance of the rich and famous. (Isn’t that the American way?)

      • Updated - - -

[QUOTE=injunear;190486]I was on regular runs into Martinez Ca back in '03 and '04. There was a large wind farm across the bay. I don’t remember seeing any of the windmills in operation.[/QUOTE]

You must be lucky, or a “fair weather seaman”.


#7

[QUOTE=ombugge;190487]You must be lucky, or a “fair weather seaman”.[/QUOTE]

Both…I’m retired!


#8

[QUOTE=ombugge;190487] how far out do you need to go to find water depth >300 m.? (1000 ft.)[/QUOTE]
Can’t say for the whole West Coast but for Washington State you can throw biscuit from the beach and have it sink in 300 meters. OK, gross exaggeration,but you don’t have to go that far out.

[QUOTE=ombugge;190487] the East Coast… is probably a more likely place for major Offshore wind development, the self is wider before the slope into deep ocean. Here it should be possible to place wind farm far enough from land to where they become “invisible” from an eye height of say 20 - 30 m., even on a clear day.[/QUOTE]

While is quite a bit farther up the East Coast, I would think places like the Canadian Maritime Provinces would be better places to start offshore wind farms. As I understand it, there is always a chronic shortage of well-paying jobs up there, and people to complain are fewer on the ground. Then they could just ship the energy down to the States. Plenty of ports for support ships: Halifax, etc. Nova Scotia could be the [insert unpronounceable Norwegian port name] of Wind Power for the Eastern Seaboard. The Canadians already sell us a good bit of their hydroelectric power, so the precedent is there. A win-win for everyone: less carbon in the atmosphere, cheap power for the U.S., more jobs for the Nova Scotians,and something for U.S. politicians to complain about. “Why can’t Americans make their own wind powered electricity any more! Nova Scotians taking American jobs!” (About 12 people live in all of Nova Scotia).

[QUOTE=ombugge;190487]When the price of wind power gets cheaper than the alternatives it will force itself on you, despite the inertia of Congress and resistance of the rich and famous. (Isn’t that the American way?)[/QUOTE]

Oh, we’ll end up with offshore wind farms one day, and when we do, they will be bigger than everyone else’s, they’ll be sponsored by NFL teams, they’ll be painted Hot Rod red, and we’ll somehow jump motorcycles off them.


#9

[QUOTE=freighterman;190485]
Down in California its a whole different deal. Big population, rapidly growing, raised on the American promise that you can have everything you want: ample power, beautiful views, bright lights and untouched environment. There are a lot of contentious voters with different agendas, so my guess it is politically expedient again to simply put the wind farms inland. That news article you posted about Cambria, California: perfect example of NIMBYism. Cambria is a wealthy, litigious enclave, whose citizens know how to ride their legislators. I think Clint Eastwood was mayor there for awhile. The citizens of Cambria–and California–are all for the environment, as long as you don’t mar their horizon.
[/QUOTE]2010 60
Cambria is about 100 miles south from Carmel, whose former mayor is Clint Eastwood. It is also 10 miles south of San Simeon, home of Hearst Castle. In the 2010 census, the population of Cambria was 6032, while that of Carmel-by-the-Sea (the full name of the place)was only 3722. Carmel has an area of only 1 square mile, and on any warm day during tourist season, it seems like every one of those residents, plus an extra car or two for each, is driving in front of you. Very slowly.

I thought this description of many here at gCaptain would be of interest: In the early morning of December 23, 1941, the 8,000-ton Union Oil tanker, SS Montebello, was attacked and sunk. ‘Cambria citizens rallied to the rescue and all six crewmen were rescued. According to the captain, Olaf Eckstrom, these citizens of Cambria were real heroes: “God Bless 'em — they performed [U]like American seamen, orderly, efficient, without hysteria[/U].” [14]’ Wikipedia


#10

Not Offshore but there were some pictures posted to a Facebook page that showed a couple of Wind Turbines in the area of IMTT in NY Harbor, Bayonne, MJ actually.


#11

[QUOTE=ombugge;190483]How can a few wind mills “spoil the view” of an empty horizon? At least there is something there to look at, not just a straight line and maybe some clouds. Maybe they want to ban ships sailing past as well?

This same prblem also apply in other countries.
Remember The Donald threatened to pull out of a golfing project in Scotland because there were going to be some windmills miles offshore?

There may be a way around this problem, : https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/31/california-wind-farm-energy-trident
If, or rather WHEN, this becomes reality, US mariners and their employers better be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that arises, otherwise there will be an exodus across the Atlantic not seen since the great migration.[/QUOTE]

The good citizens of Santa Barbara, CA are always upset about having to look at the few platforms offshore. True, there was that oil spill back in 68 to add to the paranoia. . . I also understand that they DO want ship to not use the Santa Barbara Channel when transiting up and down the coast, preferring them to pass outside of the Channel Islands. . . .


#12

[QUOTE=cmakin;190535]The good citizens of Santa Barbara, CA are always upset about having to look at the few platforms offshore. True, there was that oil spill back in 68 to add to the paranoia. . . I also understand that they DO want ship to not use the Santa Barbara Channel when transiting up and down the coast, preferring them to pass outside of the Channel Islands. . . .[/QUOTE]

If they want to watch an empty horizon I’ll recommend they join a VLCC. Nothing but empty horizon to be seen in any direction for weeks, or even months. (OK they may see a few ships now and then)


#13

I actually had an interview with the owner of the first offshore wind farm vessel in the US. One look at my license and he stated that I was over qualified. My guess is that all wind farm vessels will all be under 100 ton and not DP. Any idea that this could be a significant opportunity for mariners is unfounded. Although proponents of wind energy might tout the jobs created, this is pure fantasy. The build out might create a few jobs but nothing permanent. After years of political fighting, we have 4 wind turbines and 1 vessel in the entire country.


#14

No job creation. Just another boat to drive for the guys who regularly drive the block island ferry.


#15

[QUOTE=psquiggs;190699]I actually had an interview with the owner of the first offshore wind farm vessel in the US. One look at my license and he stated that I was over qualified. My guess is that all wind farm vessels will all be under 100 ton and not DP. Any idea that this could be a significant opportunity for mariners is unfounded. Although proponents of wind energy might tout the jobs created, this is pure fantasy. The build out might create a few jobs but nothing permanent. After years of political fighting, we have 4 wind turbines and 1 vessel in the entire country.[/QUOTE]

Don’t be so pessimistic. Just because it hasn’t created a lot of jobs yet doesn’t means it will not in the future. The whole thing started off with a few windmills in shallow water off Denmark back in 1991. It is now a multi-billion $$$ business throughout the North Sea and beyond.

The one vessel built to transport personnel to/from the Block Island wind farm is not to be the end of it. Have a look at the service vessels presently being used to install, maintain and house service personnel offshore. They are NOT tiny little boats but highly sophisticated DP 3 vessels that is purpose built for their task, or recruited from the Offshore Oil & Gas industry.


#16

If you need more convincing before you can accept that Offshore Wind Farms are big business, look here: https://gcaptain.com/dong-energy-to-build-offshore-wind-hub-in-northeast-england/
As you can see, it is not just small crew boats that will be needed for this boom. Even measured to USGC rules, I doubt you could get the vessels shown here to be 99 GRT, or even 299 GRT.

It is already staring to happen in the US as well. Some people see the opportunities that is opening up: https://gcaptain.com/a-mighty-wind-tries-to-lift-rig-builders-past-oils-downturn/
If you want to be part of it, at least accept that it is real. (just like Global Warming) If you don’t believe you’ll lose out.


#17

I will believe it when I see an abundance of American mariners on American vessels doing this work. Until then this is just pie in the sky bullshit.
And the only thing that will make this “boom” happen here is massive government subsidies.
Without lots and lots of taxpayer dollars this is not an economically sustainable business


#18

[QUOTE=Flyer69;190728]I will believe it when I see an abundance of American mariners on American vessels doing this work. Until then this is just pie in the sky bullshit.
And the only thing that will make this “boom” happen here is massive government subsidies.
Without lots and lots of taxpayer dollars this is not an economically sustainable business[/QUOTE]

Maybe you should read today’s gcaptain newsletter: http://gcaptain.com/europes-offshore-wind-industry-eyeing-atlantic-crossing/?utm_campaign=Roost&utm_source=Roost&utm_medium=push

Will there be “an abundance of American mariners on American vessel doing this work”??
Not likely, unless there are some American mariners and Shipowners that see the opportunity instead of being negative to anything new, especially if it involve foreign technology and is not cheap.

Once this boom starts to happen it is unlikely that there will be any American flag vessels suitable for the tasks at hand. It will take years to build up the necessary capacity and competence to compete with already existing European vessels.

Attempts at jury rigging old style OSVs and lift barges is not going to cut it in competition with purpose built vessels for overall cost and efficiency. Not just day rate, but time it takes to perform the jobs in the prevailing conditions, year around.

The solution may be to purchase second hand vessels from Europe and flag them US, manned with US crew as they become trained and experienced in this type of operations.

And no, this kind of vessels does not come with cheap third world crew, so that is not a valid excuse why you cannot compete.


#19

[QUOTE=ombugge;190730]Maybe you should read today’s gcaptain newsletter: http://gcaptain.com/europes-offshore-wind-industry-eyeing-atlantic-crossing/?utm_campaign=Roost&utm_source=Roost&utm_medium=push

Will there be “an abundance of American mariners on American vessel doing this work”??
Not likely, unless there are some American mariners and Shipowners that see the opportunity instead of being negative to anything new, especially if it involve foreign technology and is not cheap.

Once this boom starts to happen it is unlikely that there will be any American flag vessels suitable for the tasks at hand. It will take years to build up the necessary capacity and competence to compete with already existing European vessels.

Attempts at jury rigging old style OSVs and lift barges is not going to cut it in competition with purpose built vessels for overall cost and efficiency. Not just day rate, but time it takes to perform the jobs in the prevailing conditions, year around.

The solution may be to purchase second hand vessels from Europe and flag them US, manned with US crew as they become trained and experienced in this type of operations.

And no, this kind of vessels does not come with cheap third world crew, so that is not a valid excuse why you cannot compete.[/QUOTE]

You know Ombugge, none of that fancy wind power stuff would exist in the EU, North Sea or Baltic absent some serious guv’vermint intervention to subsidize and/or mandate it. That’s a serious fact, so don’t get too high on that “competetion” horse stuff.

We’re a little short of that subsidy type of thing in the USA nowadays, unless by chance it comes wrapped in a “defense” or “homeland security” wrapper, in which case 4000 million dollars for a destroyer absolutely makes perfect sense.

By what I can see, that ain’t the only thing we’re short of, but that is another story for another place and day. Just sayin’

Is wind power a great idea? … Yes, I happen to think so on multiple levels, but I worked in the N Sea and understand the benefits, I have a job and my electric bill is already 0.48 per kW-hr. Absent that, I’m not sure I’d be for it, especially if my job depended on not understanding it.


#20

And there’s the rub: we subsidize the bejesus out of oil in so many ways great and small (what do you think the military, and especially the U.S. Navy, is mostly for?), and have done so for so long, that it has long since become normalized and very few people see it. Subsidized industries and the people that depend on and benefit from the largesse (that includes me) almost never admit it. But there it is all the same.

And all of the alternatives are fraudulent about their “sustainability” too, because the cheerleaders for them never quite get around to admitting that every last one of them depends 100% on the unsustainable base known as fossil fuels. No fossil fuels, no “alternative energy.” Just try building any of them without it.

But the economic realities of fossil fuel extraction in the post-peak era of conventional oil, and the schizo credit policies that have gone along with it, are very busy cannibalizing the whole system, causing all sorts of unexpected and unintended consequences.

We’ve only seen relatively mild air turbulence so far. Tighten your belts and adapt if you can. It’s gonna get a lot rougher.