Installation services company A2SEA has today (July 12) awarded a Chinese shipyard a $139 million (£92.8 million) contract to build a new offshore wind turbine installation vessel that is set to be used for UK projects.
Shanghai-based COSCO Shipyard Group Co Ltd is set to construct the new vessel, which is expected to be delivered in the second half of 2010 and be named ‘Sea Installer'.
Making the announcement, A2SEA's owners, energy giant DONG Energy, explained that the vessel would use a jack-up system – which involves the barge being fitted with long support legs which can be raised or lowered.
The company added that it would be optimised to operate at water depths of up to 45 metres, claiming that it would therefore be well-fitted for the installation of upcoming offshore wind projects in the UK as well as in other offshore wind markets.
Commenting on the vessel, Jens Frederik Hansen, chief executive of A2SEA, said: "An increasing number of offshore wind projects in the near future will lead to even higher demands for installation vessels than already seen today.
State of the art
"With a new state of the art vessel, A2SEA will be able to meet our customers' future demands and hold on to our position as the leading supplier of installation services. Bringing down the installation time is an important factor in the ongoing work of industrialising the process to bring down the cost of constructing offshore wind farms."
He added that as a result, it had been important to design the ‘Sea Installer' to be able to carry eight to 10 wind turbines at a time, which he claimed was significantly more than the capacity of the vessels that are currently available in the market.
The ‘Sea Installer' will be 132 metres long and have a speed of 12 knots. The crane capacity will be 900 tonnes and it will be able to carry up to 10 wind turbines and 60 people.
A2SEA is currently owned by DONG Energy, however it was announced in June that
Siemens will become a 49% minority shareholder in the company under an agreement that is set to be finalised in Q4 of 2010.