ABB wins contracts for offshore wind power

ABB will supply energy-efficient electrical propulsion systems for special vessels for the installation of offshore wind turbines. The contract with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering applies in the first instance to two vessels, with an option for one more to be owned and operated by German energy company RWE Innogy. Contract value for the first two vessels is around $5 million.

"These contracts are particularly important to us because they concern a wind energy market in growth, and which in time can compensate some for the downturn in the traditional markets. By positioning ourselves right from the start in this relatively new market, we can demonstrate that the technology already in use for many years on oil and gas-related vessels has been noticed by others in the global shipping industry," says head of ABB’s Marine Division in Norway, Odd Gunnar Kleppe.

Electrical propulsion systems are compact and lightweight compared to traditional systems, which means higher payload and lower fuel consumption. This means that ship-owners can cut costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The installation ships are amongst the first of their type in the world, and have been built to work with centimeter precision and at depths of over 40 meters. They need to be able to transport and install the biggest wind turbines on the market, including foundations, even under bad weather conditions.

"Electrical propulsion systems are ideal for this type of construction ship, which has variable power need and which is totally dependent on exact positioning, in addition to maximize cargo capacity for loading of materiel and special equipment," says Kleppe.

The vessels will be built in South Korea and delivery is planned for 2011. RWE Innogy is involved in building offshore wind farms of the coasts of Germany and Wales.

ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 117,000 people.