GAO reports on offshore wind Jones Act build issues

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Image: Siemens Gamesa

The GAO (Government Accountability Office) has released a report with a title that, while long, pretty much sums up what’s inside: “Offshore Wind Energy: Planned Projects May Lead to Construction of New Vessels in the U.S., but Industry Has Made Few Decisions amid Uncertainties.”

Though the nitty-gritty of just how and to what extent the Jones Act governs U.S. offshore wind development is a thorny topic. However, what is not in dispute is that installing offshore wind turbines requires wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV).

Currently, there are no U.S.-built specialized ships for installing wind turbines of the sizes planned for future U.S. offshore wind farms.

“Stakeholders,” say the GAO, “pointed to uncertainty of federal approval for projects as a challenge to pursuing investments in these ships, which may cost up to $500 million in the U.S.”

The GAO reports that Interior Department officials told it they plan to decide on the nation’s first large project in December 2020.

Among matters discussed in the report is the issue of whether foreign flag WTIVs could be used to install turbines components brought to it by a new generation of U.S.-built turbine installation vessels.

Download the GAO highlights document HERE

Download the full 44 page report HERE

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