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Crowley-Tugdock Partnership Focuses On Offshore Wind Energy

Offshore wind power could be a significant source of U.S. renewable energy in the coming years, but first, the proper infrastructure must be in place. The technical resource potential for U.S. offshore wind is more than 4,200 gigawatts of capacity, or 13,500 terawatt-hours of annual power generation, according to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

One way to harness that energy is by using floating dry docks that hold wind turbines. Global demand for these kinds of docks is growing. However, few of the world’s ports have enough water depth and assembly space to accommodate large floating substructures, according to Tugdock, a British transportable floating dry docks provider.

Photo Courtesy Tugdock 

Tugdock looks to “meet this challenge” through its patented marine buoyancy bag technology. The company makes floating dry docks that can be delivered over land transportation in modular form and then assembled at the port to dimensions far wider than most of the world’s existing dry docks. From there, the platform can be towed to deeper waters to launch and transport the turbines. 

Thanks to a new partnership between Tugdock and Crowley, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based maritime logistics and energy solutions company, you can expect to see more of the company’s equipment off of U.S. shores.

Photo Courtesy Crowley 

In May, Crowley announced a new investment in Tugdock that aims to increase U.S. use of the Tugdock Submersible Platform (TSP) to help advance the country’s offshore wind energy.

The partnership calls for Crowley and Tugdock to explore the potential use of the platforms on the U.S. West Coast and other locations where water depth and conventional dry docks are otherwise “ill-suited” for the logistics required.

The announcement came shortly after the U.S. government said it plans to deploy 15 gigawatts of installed floating offshore wind capacity in coastal waters by 2035. That’s enough clean energy to power more than 5 million American homes. The initiative supports a larger U.S. goal to reduce the cost of floating offshore wind energy by more than 70%, to $45 per megawatt-hour, by 2035.

“This important investment and collaboration with Tugdock strategically complement our … capabilities to support wind energy development from beginning to end,” Bob Karl, senior vice president and general manager at Crowley Wind Services, said in a statement.

“Not only will we help installation developers solve logistics challenges…Crowley will further the use of offshore wind [by] working together with our customers, suppliers, policymakers, and others across our value chain.” 

Prior to the partnership announcement, Tugdock took part in Crowley’s first Innovation Expo in Jacksonville. The expo allowed start-ups to pitch their innovations for the advanced energy, sustainability, supply chain, and technology sectors.

Photo Courtesy Tugdock 

“We are delighted to form a new partnership with Crowley, a visionary company at the forefront of marine innovation,” said Shane Carr, CEO of Tugdock, which is based in Cornwall, UK, and was founded in 2017. “Their strategic investment will enable us to take our unique technology to the U.S. floating offshore wind market for the first time. We believe that our new partnership will help accelerate the growth of floating offshore wind in the U.S.”

Tugdock is also taking part in a simulation project at Milford Haven’s Pembroke Port facility in Wales, according to an article on the Heavy Lift & Project Forwarding International (HLPFI) website. That project will simulate the processes of maneuvering large floating wind turbines into and out of Pembroke Port. 

Meanwhile, Crowley Wind Services continues to develop and plan wind terminals in California, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, HLPFI reported. At the California port of Humboldt Bay, for example, Crowley has an agreement to build and operate a terminal to produce, install, and operate offshore wind floating platforms. 


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