EnBW and Siemens Gamesa have signed charter contracts with the Liverpool-based shipping company Bibby Marine Services Ltd. for a new purpose-built Service Operation Vessel. The Service Operation Vessel (SOV) is to be deployed in the offshore wind farm EnBW Hohe See and Albatros. EnBW and Siemens Gamesa will charter the SOV for ten years. Siemens Gamesa will take over for the first and EnBW for the second five year period. The special vessel is to support operations and maintenance work from summer 2019 until 2029.
EnBW Hohe See lies 95 kilometres north of Borkum and 100 kilometres north-west of Helgoland. Albatros is being built in the direct vicinity. The ship’s base port will be Emden in Lower Saxony, Germany, where EnBW is going to establish an offshore service facility.
The new SOV is a 90-metre vessel of the Bibby WaveMaster fleet, consisting of vessels using the Damen ASV 9020 design. These vessels incorporate lessons learned from the past four years of operating SOVs in the North and Baltic Seas. Key design innovations include a multi-stop elevator with access to the height-adjustable, motion-compensated gangway, which provides service technicians with stepless access to offshore wind turbine and transformer platforms. The elevator thus represents a key innovation in the access concept: It enables technicians to directly access the gangway from the storage areas. Furthermore, a trolley with tools and equipment can be maneuvered from the warehouse on a lower deck directly to the transition piece of the wind turbine.
Even with waves over 2.5 metres high the turbines can still be safely entered. The vessel’s daughter craft follows a new, particularly wave-resistant design and offers a load capacity of 1,000 kg of cargo. Some 60 single cabins can be expanded for up to 90 people on board. The crew for EnBW Hohe See and Albatros will consist of 20 Bibby vessel crew members and a team of 40 wind turbine technicians.
The SOV charter contract also represents a novelty in the operation of offshore wind farms: “We charter the SOV in a joint agreement between Siemens, EnBW and Bibby Marine“, says Ralf Neulinger, Head of Renewable Generation at EnBW. “This will not only generate synergies in operations, but also effectuates advantages to the shipbuilding industry by providing better financing framework conditions.” The joint charter agreement helps reducing risk premiums and provides higher planning reliability. EnBW has experience in charter contracts for offshore wind since 2010, beginning with the offshore windfarm Baltic 1.
EnBW will expand renewable energies into one of the main pillars of the EnBW business by 2020. In the Baltic Sea EnBW also operates the offshore wind farms EnBW Baltic 1 and Baltic 2. In April 2017 EnBW prevailed in the first offshore invitation to tender by being awarded the contract for the He Dreiht offshore wind farm. EnBW’s bid for building the 900 megawatt project does without subsidies under the Renewable Energy Sources Act. The awarding of the contract clears the way for one of the largest planned offshore projects in Europe. Additionally, in 2018 EnBW entered the market in Taiwan by acquiring 37.5 per cent in development companies for three projects in Taiwan with altogether up to 2000 MW. The continued selective international expansion of its offshore activities is one focus in the current year.