CSBC-DEME Wind Engineering Co. Ltd. (CDWE) has officially placed an order with CSBC Corp. to build a heavy-lift and installation vessel named the Green Jade. In addition to meeting the demand from the development of offshore wind projects along Taiwan’s west coast, this next-generation floating crane will also capitalize on the opportunities stemming from the design trend of larger offshore wind turbines. The price tag of the Green Jade is NT$7.5 billion.
Based on CDWE’s schedule, the work on the vessel will begin near the end of this year, the delivery of the vessel will occur in 2022, and the official launch of the vessel will take place in spring 2023. Once in service, the Green Jade will be mainly responsible for the transportation and installation of both underwater foundations and turbine towers at the sites of the Zhong Neng and Hai Long offshore wind farms.
Established in February 2019, CDWE is a joint venture between CSBC and DEME Offshore Holding NV. The former is a shipyard partially owned by the government of Taiwan, while the latter is a marine engineering firm based in Belgium. The purpose of CDWE is to provide engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) services in Taiwan’s offshore wind sector. CSBC currently owns 51% of the entity.
The size continues to increase for the steel structures that form underwater foundations and turbine towers. Seeing this trend, CDWE has decided to acquire construction vessels that can work in deep waters far from the shore. Unfortunately, the earlier generation of specialty vessels for the installation of offshore wind turbines may not be up to the task. Even though conventional crane vessels can self-elevate like a jack-up rig, there are limits as to the water depth that they can accommodate when planting piles in the seabed.
After considering various factors, CDWE has decided to build its own heavy-lift and installation vessel that can perform its assigned tasks without being constrained by the water depth and the complexity of the underwater terrain. This April, CDWE signed a contract with CSBC for early works and ordering of critical packages of the Green Jade. The construction of the vessel was later officially commissioned this June 30.
The Green Jade represents the largest investment deal in Taiwan’s offshore wind sector since the government of the island announced the Incentive Program for Offshore Wind Power Demonstration Systems on July 3, 2012. The building of this vessel also constitutes the largest contract that Taiwan’s shipbuilding industry has received so far for service vessels used in the installation of offshore wind turbines.
Costing NT$7.5 billion, the Green Jade is ranked among the world’s top 10 by size for specialty vessels used in the construction of wind farms. It is also the first of its kind built in Taiwan. Regarding specifications, the Green Jade has a length of 216.5m, a cargo area of 8,200m2 (which is 1.3 times that of a standard soccer field), and a 4,000t crane. The vessel can carry five underwater foundation systems in a single shipment. The main tasks that the Green Jade will be performing after its launch include setting up offshore substations, driving piles into the seabed, laying foundations, and transporting wind turbines.
The Green Jade will be equipped with an integrated automation system (IAS) that syncs up the main engine remote control system, power management system, valve remote control systems, liquid level gauges, dynamic positioning system (DPS), marine navigation system, etc. The most significant advantage of an IAS is that it brings together the functions of control, monitoring, and alarming for all the key aspects of vessel operations. Regarding DPS in particular, the Green Jade has adopted the most advanced DP3 system. It works with different thruster systems (e.g., bow-side, port-side, and retractable) to lock the position of the vessel at a fixed point without using the anchor. This technology thus ensures accuracy and safety during the turbine installation process.
Following its delivery and launch, the Green Jade will be moving and lifting turbine components at the 300MW Zhong Neng project. Then it will be deployed at the Hai Long 2 and 3 projects in succession. Due to its role as the installer of underwater foundations, the Green Jade will be instrumental in the development of domestic expertise in the field of marine engineering for offshore wind farms. On the whole, the commissioning of this vessel is another major step in the formation of an integrated supply chain and thereby enhances the sustainability of the domestic offshore wind industry. The event also marks a new milestone in the history of Taiwan’s shipbuilding industry.
According to the reporting from local news media, the Green Jade will be fully booked to the end of 2025, and negotiations over its service contracts for 2016 are now underway. This vessel is designed to have an operational lifespan that exceeds 20 years, so CDWE is confident that this multi-billion investment will begin to pay off within a decade as the global demand for offshore wind farms continues to rise.
(News source: TechNews. Photo: CDWE.)