North Star secures first German contract


North Star has secured a contract with energy utility giant EnBW to deliver a new hybrid-electric service operations vessel (SOV) on a decade-long minimum charter to service the He Dreiht wind farm off the coast of Germany.

The agreement marks the firm’s first offshore wind win outside the U.K. market, a milestone step in its European growth strategy to add 40 new SOVs to its fleet by 2040.

North Star’s new SOV has been tailored to meet EnBW’s specific requirements (Courtesy: North Star)

The newbuild is of VARD 407 design that has been tailored to meet EnBW’s specific requirements. To drive high performance and efficiencies, the high-specification vessel includes Voith Schneider eVSP propulsion and is prepared for the use of methanol as a fuel.

The ship is also equipped with a height adjustable motion compensated gangway and 3D compensated crane. In addition, it supports decarbonization, including North Star’s Decision Support system.

Scheduled to commence long-term charter with EnBW at the end of next year, the walk-to-work vessel will provide accommodation in field for up to 34 wind technicians as they maintain the development’s 64 wind turbines, about 90 kilometers northwest of the island of Borkum and 110 kilometers west of Helgoland. The SOV will also act as a logistics hub and warehouse.

“He Dreiht is currently one of Europe’s largest energy-transition projects and once operational, will supply green power to 1.1 million homes,” said Caspar Blum, North Star European renewables lead. “Following the highly regulated EU tendering process, we are thrilled to be selected by EnBW as part of their maintenance solution to ensure once completed, the wind farm remains consistently operational and generating renewable electricity. With high operability a key component to providing fast, safe and efficient personnel transfers, we worked closely with EnBW and our partners VARD to develop a robust and superior SOV to mitigate sea state and wave height challenges.”

“This vessel will be the backbone of our service and logistics operations at our He Dreiht wind farm,” said Michael Splett, EnBW’s global head of O&M Wind Offshore. “Working with North Star, we were able to specify its setup to ideally meet the requirements of our operations teams. Its innovative, methanol-based propulsion system helps us to further decarbonize our industry’s operations. This perfectly aligns with EnBW’s strategy of continually optimizing the operation of its offshore wind farms through the deployment of new technologies in the field.”

This contract for North Star marks the seventh newbuild SOV for the company since entering the renewables market in 2021.

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