RWE and Acta Marine sign agreement for ‘green’ fuel service operation vessels (SOVs) to support North Sea offshore wind farms
- The agreement, for 2 x SX216 class dual fuel methanol powered vessels, demonstrates RWE’s commitment to decarbonising the operation of its offshore wind farms
- Innovative design will expand the vessels’ operational service capabilities, setting a new industry standard
- Deployment of the SOVs continues RWE’s long-term commitment to the Grimsby region, at the heart of its North Sea offshore projects.
RWE, the world’s second largest offshore wind player, and maritime support provider Acta Marine have entered a long-term vessel supply agreement that paves the way for the decarbonisation of offshore wind farm operations.
The agreement is to build and operate two ‘green’ service operation vessels, which will be among the first in the world to be built with the capability of being powered by methanol and batteries, with the potential to save up to 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year.
Acta Marine will begin constructing the vessels at Tersan Shipyards in Turkey during the second quarter of 2023 and they are expected to begin operation from the Port of Grimsby in early 2025 and 2026. Both vessels will be methanol ready from day one, and will support the day-to-day operations and maintenance of two of RWE’s largest offshore wind projects, at the newly operational 857megawatt (MW) Triton Knoll and the 1.4 gigawatt (GW) Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, which is now under construction.
The SOVs will be based out of RWE’s new Grimsby Hub and support the long-term operations of the offshore assets, representing an enduring commitment to the region. The agreement will bring further investment into the port through the use of vessel support and maintenance services, local fuelling, pilotage and other ancillary services.
Director of Offshore Wind Operations at RWE Renewables, Thomas Michel said, “This investment in low-emissions capable Service Operations Vessels demonstrates our commitment to not only playing a major role in decarbonising the UK’s energy mix, but also to supporting the green transition of our broader activities across the marine industry. We are proud to take this step forward for our North Sea operations and anticipate this being the first of similar investments in support of our other offshore projects.”
Acta Marine builds on a strong track record in offshore wind construction and operations support. The SX216 newbuild vessels designed by Ulstein Design and Solutions feature the Twin X-Stern® improving fuel efficiency, increasing dynamic positioning capability and reducing motions and noise, making the offshore stay more comfortable, efficient and safe for technicians.
Rob Boer, Acta’s Managing Director said: “We are very pleased to partner with RWE in deploying two of our new SOVs over a 12 year basis. The ability to use e-methanol from day one of our operations with RWE drives the reduction of greenhouse gases significantly. The vessels have been designed for high performance in-field agility whilst reducing power consumption as much as possible. Whilst contributing to the decarbonisation of marine offshore operations, we will be proud to deliver best in class hospitality services on board our SOVs combined with leading operational performance and safe transfer of technicians to the windfarms.”
The low-carbon collaboration also marks a tangible step forward for the vision of Operation Zero, an industry coalition working towards the deployment of zero-emission operations vessels and infrastructure in support of the North Sea offshore wind sector from 2025. Operation Zero was launched by the Department for Transport and the ORE Catapult at COP26, and was signed by RWE.
RWE is also part of the Carbon Trust programme, aiming to make future offshore wind more sustainable. The Carbon Trust, in collaboration with RWE and other developers, is developing a new Offshore Wind Sustainability Joint Industry Programme. This will establish guidance on how to measure and address carbon emissions associated with offshore wind farms during their lifecycle, including emissions from the manufacturing of materials and wind farms installation.