In a historic achievement, Dutch heave compensation specialist Seaqualize has successfully executed the world’s first offshore transfer lifts of wind turbine components from a heaving supply vessel. The groundbreaking operation, conducted in the open Atlantic Ocean, saw the deployment of Seaqualize’s newly developed offshore lifting device, the Heave Chief 1100, by DEME Offshore US. Collaborating with partners DEME Offshore US, Barge Master, Foss Maritime, and GE Renewables, Seaqualize’s technology aims to enable year-round installation of Halliade X 13 MW turbines, marking the inception of the first commercial-scale wind farm installation project in the USA, known as Vineyard Wind.
Advancements in Heave Compensation
The operation represents a significant leap in the execution of safe and continuous feeder barge operations. The collaborative efforts of DEME Offshore, GE Renewables, Barge Master, Foss Maritime, Seaqualize, and various US partners, both on- and offshore, have successfully transferred and installed the initial turbines. This marks a crucial step in ensuring the installation of wind turbines throughout the year, even in adverse weather conditions.
DEME Offshore Paves the Way
As the market leader in offshore wind installations, DEME Offshore has taken the lead in transporting and installing wind turbine generators for the Vineyard Wind 1 project. The project, led by Avangrid Inc. and CIP, located off the coast of Massachusetts, signifies a significant move toward reducing carbon emissions and achieving clean energy goals. The project aims to deliver clean energy to 400,000 homes while providing opportunities for U.S. companies to participate, build expertise, create jobs, and expand within this burgeoning market.
Innovative Technology: Inline Balanced Heave Compensators
Seaqualize’s cutting-edge technology includes the development and operation of inline Balanced Heave Compensators, a next-generation lifting tool designed for heavy lift with in-air active load control. The Heave Chief 1100, with a lifting capacity of 1100 mT, is specifically engineered to balance turbine components of the 15MW generation. The technology addresses challenges associated with lifts in the open sea, demonstrating increased workability in operations, compensating for heave motions up to 3.5m, and fast-lifting full loads at speeds exceeding 70cm/s (42 m/min).
Flexibility in Operations and Industry Impact
The Heave Chief 1100 introduces flexibility in operation planning, accommodating changes in weather conditions and varying loads. This adaptability allows for efficient deployment, even in adverse conditions. Seaqualize’s Managing Director, Gjalt Lindeboom, highlights the crucial distinctions between offshore wind operations and traditional Oil and Gas lifts, emphasizing the scale, frequency, and delicacy of wind turbine components. The success of the Vineyard Wind project, with over 800 lifts required, underscores the efficiency of Balanced Heave Compensation in the competitive and cost-driven Offshore Wind Sector.
Looking Ahead: Second Project and Future Plans
Following the success of the Vineyard Wind project, Seaqualize is set to launch the second Heave Chief, the HC750, this month on another wind farm installation project in the U.S. Future plans include the production of additional machines to support projects scheduled from 2024 to 2026. With the momentum gained from the Vineyard Wind results, Balanced Heave Compensation solidifies its position as a safe and efficient solution for offshore feeder lifts, addressing the complexities of floating offshore heavy lifting in the renewable energy sector. As the industry progresses, it’s evident that ‘heave compensation’ is no longer a challenge but a proven solution.