Offshore Wind may be on the cusp of taking off in the US. This green energy will be heavily subsidized by US taxpayers and electricity rate payers.
The offshore wind industry plans to install foreign made wind turbines using foreign flag vessels with European and Asian crews. The theory being that there are no specialized offshore wind vessels in the US, and no Americans that know how to run them. We need to put a stop to this.
American ship yards can easily build European designed offshore wind vessels. American Mariners can easily learn how to run them. American land wind turbine workers can learn offshore wind work.
MARAD should finance construction of a US flag offshore wind construction and service fleet.
Rather than merely subsidize offshore wind production, the US government should first sponsor offshore wind training for American workers.
The best way to do this would be to finance American companies to buy one or more foreign offshore wind installation and service companies. Then send American managers and workers overseas to learn learn how to do the offshore wind work.
Perhaps it might also be beneficial to finance US shipyards to buy a few foreign shipyards that are producing offshore wind vessels.
I might even favor a five year Jones Act waiver to allow foreign built offshore vessels to be reflagged US. This would give US shipyards time to crank up US construction of offshore wind vessels.
There is no way that American taxpayer and rate payers should be subsidizing offshore wind unless it is built by American workers.
This is one of many solutions and good ideas proposed on this forum. Sadly, MARAD is like a deer frozen in the headlights of progress and Congress has given up any pretense of working on behalf of the American people. Don’t hold your breath.
I keep saying, the problem is not the Jones Act as such. The problem is a lack of an industrial policy for all sectors- the workers in this industry should be pushing a Jones Act for America if you will. We don’t agree on a lot but tugsailor is absolutely right.
My understanding is that Dutch vessels built the Block Island, Rhode Island offshore wind farm, but American tugs and barges were used to support the project and lay the cables. One of the tug and barge operators shared his opinion that future offshore wind farms will use mostly foreign vessels.
I’ve heard that Blount built at least one European design CTV, and that more of them are under construction.
Plans were announced to build one offshore wind installation vessel, but I don’t know if it ever got beyond the planning stage.
I think lawsuits by green groups and NIMBYs will continue to frustrate and delay offshore wind farms in the US, but now that the first one has been built, and the sky has not fallen, more wind farms will follow. In another 10 years, it may become a significant business in North America and the Caribbean.
I think it’s headed toward following the offshore drill rig model of being all foreign flag. We need to disrupt that. As far as I’m concerned it has to be an American business, or offshore wind farms should not be built at all. Certainly, foreign built wind farms should not be subsidized by American taxpayers and rate payers. Without subsidies they cannot be built.
The Fred Olsen Windcarrier installation vessel Brave Tern was used for the installation at Block Island. As seen here they brought in Liftboats from the GoM to carry the foundations, transition pieces and blades:
It takes quite some time to close the knowledge gap that now exists. At this moment in time, to shorten the learning curve, your suggestion would be the proper and quickest approach to bring the US up to speed.
Maybe I don’t understand, but why are GOM oilfield support vessels not able to erect a wind turbine? I’m sure there are plenty of shipyards along the gulf coast just itching to take a contract. What’s so fancy about a Dutch built crane barge VS an American built crane barge?
Compare the quality of otherwise similar boats built in the Gulf or the Pacific Northwest. There is a reason why the Gulf built boats are often called “Walmart boats.”
Now compare a Gulf built boat to a Euro built boat.
However, Gulf shipyards can build adequate offshore wind vessels. Especially after the first few have been built and the learning curve has been surmounted. But why not go to Europe to learn how to do it right the first time?