Rhode Island Shipyards to build five Offshore Wind Crew Vessels to Service Ørsted and Eversource’s Northeast Wind Farms

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Ørsted and Eversource are bringing jobs to Rhode Island, by partnering with Rhode Island Shipyards to build Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs) to support their Northeastern Wind Farms.

Ørsted and Eversource have chartered five new CTVs from Windserve Marine and American Offshore Services (AOS). Windserve Marine’s affiliate Senesco Marine at Quonset Point will build three of the vessels, and AOS has partnered alongside Blount Boats & Shipyard, of Warren, to build another two vessels. This charter will create 80 local construction jobs, plus another 48 for the Captains and Crew of each vessel. Regional suppliers will provide components, like electronics, engines, cranes, aluminum, and safety equipment.

“Rhode Island continues to be a national leader in clean energy innovation,” said Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee. “We are proud that these companies chose our shipyards for this major partnership that will bring jobs to the Ocean State. With our blue economy ecosystem, which positions us to support the entire offshore wind supply chain, and substantial proposed investments to expand capacity for offshore wind developers, we are on a path to solidify Rhode Island as the East Coast hub of offshore wind development.”

“Rhode Island knows offshore wind and we are proud to be delivering even more jobs to the Ocean State’s marine trades to build these new crew vessels,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America“Our continuing commitment to Rhode Island shipbuilders, together with our selection of first-rate regional vessel operators, is just the latest example of our work to build a domestic supply chain to support the growing offshore wind industry.”

“Rhode Island has a long history of leading in ocean-based industries and has established one of the country’s most innovative and expansive blue economies,” said Joe Nolan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Eversource Energy. “This partnership between two outstanding local shipbuilders and two major vessel operators will be critical as we build and operate our portfolio of Northeast wind farms. Offshore wind is a growing industry with tremendous potential to create jobs and grow the domestic supply chain, and with today’s news, we are proud to once again help turn that promise into a new reality.”

“This is more good news for Rhode Island’s blue economy and maritime industry and it will mean more work at local shipyards,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who led efforts to restore funding for the federal Small Shipyard program after it lapsed for several years, and helped local shipyards secure federal grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.

 “The first state to get steel in the water, Rhode Island is becoming a hub for the growing offshore wind industry,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a longtime champion for Rhode Island’s marine trades industry. “Strategic federal investments at Quonset and in our local maritime trades helped attract these jobs to the Ocean State and will continue to pay dividends as offshore wind ramps up.” 

 “With Rhode Island’s blue economy continuing to grow, and as we shift our reliance from gas and oil to clean energy and wind, we will continue to see more of these investments and jobs,” said U.S. Representative David N. Cicilline. “With the infusion of infrastructure investments from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, we can continue to develop our ports and pave the way for Rhode Island’s future.”

“Rhode Island’s blue economy is an engine of growth for our entire state, which is why I’m so proud to be on the forefront of this cutting edge, green technology that will power the region,” said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. “I’m thrilled that our reputation and our investments in the offshore wind sector have brought new, good-paying jobs to Quonset Point and the East Bay.” 

“This announcement is a testament to Rhode Island’s well-established, national leadership in ship-building, offshore wind, marine trades, and the Blue Economy as a whole,” said Rhode Island Commerce Executive Vice President of Business Development Hilary Fagan. “America’s offshore wind industry was born in Rhode Island, and as the sector rapidly grows in the Northeast and across the country, we are proud that our local ports, shipyards, companies and skilled workforce will continue to serve at the center of its supply chain.”

These vessels are designed to handle the unique conditions at the wind farms, which will be located 15 miles off the Southern New England coast, and to transport technicians and materials safely to and from the wind farms and local ports.

Construction is planned to start early this year at Senesco on the 88-foot long WindServe vessels and at Blount Boats on the 101-foot long AOS vessels. All five vessels will be built over the next two years, able to provide crew transfer support during the construction phases of the Ørsted and Eversource joint venture’s three Northeast projects. The first vessel will be completed by early 2023.

“The AOS newbuild program for Ørsted and Eversource will bring over 40 skilled shipyard jobs to Rhode Island,” said David Kristensson, owner of Northern Offshore Services, a co-owner of AOS. “In addition, this partnership will give dozens of U.S. merchant mariners the opportunity to embark on a new and exciting career path, throughout the Northeast. We are thrilled to bring the first purpose-built hybrid ready CTVs to the U.S. market for Ørsted and Eversource and remain poised on delivering on our promise to bring maximum economic benefit to local suppliers.”

 “Blount Boats has emerged as a leader in the CTV space having built two of the three U.S. flagged CTVs currently in operation,” said Marcia Blount, President of Blount BoatsInc. “Blount looks forward to substantially increasing its highly skilled workforce while maintaining its reputation for quality construction during the build of these hybrid ready CTVs, the first vessels in the AOS fleet.”

 “WindServe Marine is excited to continue our CTV build program at Senesco Marine to deliver on our long-term commitments to create local jobs and provide high quality vessel operations for the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Josh Diedrich – Managing Director, WindServe Marine. “We look forward to expanding our partnership with Ørsted, Eversource, and industry stakeholders to ensure the success of U.S. offshore wind projects.”  

 “Senesco Marine is proud to continue its partnership with WindServe Marine to build innovative and efficient CTVs for Ørsted and Eversource,” said Ted Williams, President, Senesco Marine. “Capable of builds of all sizes, CTVs are one of many vessel types that Senesco Marine builds with the highest of quality and safety standards. Senesco will commence local Northeast construction on three CTVs in early 2022 to support the expanding offshore wind industry on the East Coast.”  

Categories: News, Politics, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island