Offshore oil and gas rig designer Friede & Goldman (F&G) is working with crane designer Tetrahedron to create a so-called ‘feeder’ solution that is aiming to cut the cost of building the first wave of sea-based wind construction projects in the US Atlantic by as much as half.

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The NewWindShape concept aims to be a less expensive alternative to the high-price transport and installation units in service today by using a set-up combining one of F&G’s smaller-model jack-ups with a next-generation leg-encircling crane, supported by a number of standard ocean barges.

The company said the feeder concept — key to speeding up development of offshore wind projects offshore the US — would “make optimal use of the existing US logistic infrastructure, and with that, reduces required capex [capital expenditure] and spread costs by over 50%”.

NewWindShape would use close, stand-off and dynamically positioned feeder barges outfitted with a Tetrahedron crane able to lift modules for up to 20-megawatt turbines to heights of 200 metres above the water with a high-speed ‘smart hoist’ system.

The US market-gap for wind turbine installation vessels is in the cross-hairs of various contractors, including South Korea’s Keppel, which is starting construction of first all-American unit, Charybdis, and Eneti having announced plans for the flagship in a series of newbuilds.

(This article first appeared in Upstream's sister renewable energy publication Recharge on 21 May, 2021.)