GLDD plans to build offshore wind rock installation vessel

Written by Nick Blenkey
Subsea rock installation vessel

Image: Great Lakes Dredge & Dock

Gearing up for future U.S. offshore wind development, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (NASDAQ: GLDD) has engaged Ulstein Design & Solutions B.V. to undertake conceptual and regulatory design engineering for what will be the first U.S.-flagged, Jones Act compliant, inclined fallpipe vessel for subsea rock installation.

GLDD says the vessel represents a critical advancement in building the future of the new U.S. offshore wind industry, which will include establishing a U.S.-based rock supply chain network spanning eastern seaboard states with active offshore wind leases.

Pending federal permitting and regulatory approvals as well as a final investment decision, the vessel will be operational as early as first quarter 2024, to coincide with major offshore wind project construction timelines.

Designed to state-of-the-art specifications, the vessel will be built to the highest maritime standards, including best-in-class air-quality controls to adhere to EPA Tier 4 emissions standards. It will be built on the Gulf Coast and, while the vessel initially would serve the East Coast, GLDD believes it will be available as offshore wind projects develop along the Gulf and West Coasts.

The vessel is expected to help spur additional job growth and regional economic opportunities corresponding with the establishment of a U.S.-based rock supply chain network for subsea rock installation, with quarries in states along the East Coast.

“U.S. offshore wind’s potential growth could be a true economic stimulus for America. We believe this is the optimal time for us to leverage our extensive specialized vessel expertise to enter this exciting market now coming to the United States,” said Lasse Petterson, GLDD’s chief executive officer and president. “We are initiating this project because we firmly believe that a Jones Act compliant offshore wind subsea rock installation vessel is a critical foundational piece required to advance the U.S. offshore wind energy industry. We are committed to safe and sustainable operations and excited to make history with this landmark vessel.”

As the leading U.S. dredging company and with 130+ years’ experience and expertise in dredging, marine engineering, specialized vessel design and safe offshore operations, GLDD believes its move into the offshore wind energy industry is a natural business progression.

“We applaud GLDD’s foresight and decisive action in entering this potentially transformative new industry in its early days. Their new vessel will complete another major piece of the offshore wind industry puzzle,” said Liz Burdock, CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “This milestone brings our nation one step closer to realizing the substantial benefits from clean energy including the economic growth from projects, supply chain development, and job creation.

“We look forward to playing a key role in developing this new industry on the eastern seaboard that will provide multidimensional benefits to our nation,” concluded Petterson. “The full potential direct, indirect and induced economic benefits of offshore wind development have yet to be calculated because the various aspects and value of the supply chain are still unknown and yet to be developed. The potential impacts are staggering.”

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