Wind Turbine Installation Vessels: Global Supply Chain Impacts on the U.S. Offshore Wind Market
In 2020, our team had the privilege of advising the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on their December 2020 Report to Congressional Committees entitled "Offshore Wind Energy: Planned Projects May Lead to Construction of New Vessels in the U.S., but Industry Has Made Few Decisions amid Uncertainties." During these efforts, it became clear to us that the global ... read moreWind Turbine Installation Vessel (WTIV) fleet is inadequate to meet the future needs of the U.S. offshore wind market. Furthermore, even though there was a general feeling in the air that this was the case, the facts of the case were difficult to visualize and understand for most people who were not directly involved in WTIV logistics. Finally, in response to this feeling, which had a tendency to turn anxious, we had been observing for several years through the press and at conferences most people thought the Jones Act was to blame. Our studies have shown, however, that the problem is simpler and bigger than that: The U.S. is about to build the world's largest offshore wind farms, and there just aren't enough vessels available in the world to handle these projects in U.S. waters. This report represents our team's attempt to follow-up on the 2020 GAO Report with visual analysis and logistics scenarios that can help offshore wind stakeholders understand both the scale and the details of the challenge ahead.
Since the drafting and design of this report during Spring 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced a federal commitment to get to 30 GW by 2030 (March 29; White House, 2021); North Carolina has announced its intention to procure 2.8 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 8 GW of offshore wind by 2040 (June 9; Borkas, 2021); and BOEM has announced new competitive lease sales for New York and New Jersey (June 11; DOI, 2021). Such rapid and critically important developments are not uncommon in the offshore wind industry. We wish to acknowledge that these developments would have changed our approach to the logistic scenarios presented here. We would have focused either on 30 GW by 2030, or 40 GW by 2040 in light of the White House and North Carolina announcements; and we would have incorporated more detail into our discussion of the NY and NJ lease areas.
Nevertheless, the main purpose of our vessel analyses and logistics scenarios is not to report breaking news, but to help people visualize the coming U.S. offshore wind build-out in terms that are simple and clear. We plan to update our work in response to recent and future developments, and we look forward to engaging with the global offshore wind community on this discussion as it develops.
Offshore Power Research & Education Collaborative Report Number OSPRE-2021-02.read less
- Bocklet, Charles, Christian Herbosa, Greg Loweth, Matthew Griswold, Lauren Quickel, Roan Gideon, Jay Borkland, Rocky Weitz, Barbara Kates-Garnick, and Eric Hines. (2021). Wind Turbine Installation Vessels: Global Supply Chain Impacts on the U.S. Offshore Wind Market. OSPRE-2021-02. Tufts University. June 28, 55 pp.