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Oil Forever!

By Alan Caruba

I suspect that most people think the Earth is running out of oil or that the U.S. and the rest of the world are “addicted” to its use.

Both beliefs are wrong, but in different ways. First because the Earth produces oil in abundance deep within its mantel in ways that have nothing to do with dead dinosaurs and gives no indication of ever stopping this natural process and, second, because the use of oil for fuel and for thousands of other applications, not the least of which is plastics, is one of the great blessings of modern technology and life.

All this is made dazzlingly clear in Dr. Jerome R. Corsi’s new book, “The Great Oil Conspiracy” ($22.95, Skyhorse Publishing). By way of explaining why there is so much oil within the planet Dr. Corsi tells the story of the Nazi regimes development of synthetic oil after German scientists “cracked the code God built into the heart of chemistry to form hydrocarbons in the first place.” Known as the “Fischer-Tropsch” process, it permitted the Nazis to pursue war even though Germany had no oil fields of its own.

The widespread use of the term “fossil fuels” is a deception created by anti-energy propagandists and earlier theorists to make people believe that oil is the result of countless dead dinosaurs and decaying vegetation. Oil, however, is “abiotic”, a term that means it is a natural product of the earth itself “manufactured at deep levels where there never were any plants or animals.”

Corsi writes of Thomas Gold, a professor of astronomy who taught at Cornell University. In 1998 he published a controversial book entitled “The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels” in which he applied his knowledge of the solar system, noting that carbon is the fourth more abundant element in the universe, right after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Gold pointed out that “carbon is found mostly in compounds with hydrogen—hydrocarbons—which, at different temperatures and pressures, may be gaseous, liquid, or solid.”

Gold, who passed away in 2004, was way ahead of most other scientists with his assertion that the earth produces oil at very deep levels. While telling the story of how the U.S. went to great lengths to acquire the data regarding synthetic oil production as our military overran Germany and then took care not to let the public know about. It was, after all, our own oil industry that had provided the fuel that aided the war effort in both theatres.

Correspondingly, the oil industry had no reason to develop “relatively expensive synthetic oil when billions of dollars in profits could be made annually bringing to market naturally produced and reasonably priced hydrocarbon fuels, including crude oil and natural gas.”

This mirrors the efforts of “renewable” energy producers, wind, solar, and biofuels like ethanol, to profit at the cost of billions of dollars in subsidies and loan guarantees paid for by taxpayers along with higher electricity and gasoline bills paid for by consumers; all of which are mandated by the federal government. It is pure crony capitalism to enrich a few at the expense of all the rest of us. None of these alternative forms of power could exist or even compete without such government mandated support.

As Dr. Corsi points out, “Eliminating the fear that the world is running out of oil eliminates an urgency to experiment with or to implement alternative fuels including biofuels, wind energy, and solar energy as long as these energies remain less energy-efficient, less reliable, and more costly than using oil and natural gas.”

There are, in fact, “more proven petroleum reserves than ever before, despite the increasing rate at which we are consuming petroleum products worldwide” says Dr. Corsi, noting that the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, in on record that “there are more proven crude oil reserves worldwide than ever in recorded history, despite the fact that worldwide consumption of crude oil has doubled since the 1970s.”

So tell me why, since the Obama administration took over, have gas prices per gallon risen from $1.84 to $3.80 now, a rise of 105%? The American Energy Alliance compared costs between 2009 and 2012, publishing them to reveal that we are all paying more for energy. The average monthly residential electricity bill has increased 6% and annual household energy expenses have increased 31%.

At the same time, the Obama Department of Energy increased new rules whose implementation cost more than $100 million each 141%! The Environmental Protection Agency increase of such regulations increased 40%, the Department of the Interior, 13%.

Total regulatory costs (all sectors) went from $1,172 trillion in 2009 to $1,752 trillion today! If you were trying to bankrupt the energy sector and its consumers, this is a great way to do it.

You can access the AEA chart at:  Click Here

The Obama administration came into office declaring a war on coal, further restricting oil and natural gas exploration on federal lands and offshore, and wasting billions on solar, wind, and biofuel companies. That in itself would be reason enough to turn them out of office.

The Earth is not running out of oil and likely never will.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

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USA: Eight Firms Plan to Develop Wind Farms Offshore Virginia

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As reported by the Associated Press, the potential of the project, aimed at developing wind turbines in the U.S., situated off the Virginia cost and encompassing circa 113,000 acres in the Atlantic Ocean, has been recognized by numerous investors including European ones.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, in charge of supervising offshore wind development, published the names of companies that submitted the necessary documentation in order to be eligible for project implementation, those being:

Arcadia Offshore Virginia LLC, New Jersey based branch of Arcadia Windpower, Cirrus Wind Energy Inc., based in Nevada; enXco Development Corp., based in California; Fishermen’s Energy LLC, based in New Jersey; Iberdrola Renewables Inc., an American subsidiary of a Spanish company with offices on the West and East coasts; Orisol Energy US Inc., another Spanish offshoot with American offices in Michigan; Apex Virginia; and Dominion Resources.

The paperwork will be scrutinized by the government regulators, in order to determine what company meets the technical and economic prerequisites in order to be able to push forward with the project implementation.

On March 27, Virginia regulators gave their consent to what might be the first offshore wind turbine built in the United States. Even though the prototype turbine still awaits approval of the U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers, it is said that it will be located in Chesapeake Bay and be able to meet the power needs of 1,250 households. The capacity of the wind turbine will equal to 5 megawatts of electricity and it should be ready for production by the end of 2013.

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Germany: Siemens to Convert Wind Energy into Gas

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Siemens AG (SIE) has revealed its intention to introduce technology in 2015 that will enable conversion of wind-turbine electricity into gas, providing wind farms with an alternative revenue stream when the grid is fully charged.

Michael Weinhold, Chief Technology Officer of Siemens’ Energy Businesses, says the electrolyser, a soccer-field sized plant that converts power into storable hydrogen, is in the testing phase, reports Bloomberg. It offers a promising capacity necessary for overcoming the challenge of how to harness fluctuating electricity output from wind farms, especially at night when demand is the lowest.

Munich-based Siemens allocates 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) on annual bases to devising new technology for the energy industry. Wind farms have faced hardship in commercial terms because power cannot be stored on a large scale, however the converted hydrogen can be stored by feeding it into the gas grid.

“The main problem today is the mismatch of renewable power generation and demand,” Weinhold said in an interview. “If we can offer solutions to solve that, we have a business case.”

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Why Wind Power Doesn’t Live up to its Environmental Promises

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By MasterResource | Wed, 18 January 2012 01:33

“I cannot abide the suggestion that we must sacrifice our environment in order to save it. This is an absurd argument enabling this energy imposter’s invasion of delicate habitat with little return. … Environmentalists must consider the possibility that industrial wind, by its failure to perform to stated goals, does not then qualify for this sacred consideration.”

The heavily funded and admittedly effective U.S. industrial wind lobby portrays its product as descending from old-world windmills. Close your eyes and you’ll surely imagine these magnificent machines gently turning in the breeze … each kilowatt arriving at your reading lamp courtesy of a rosy–cheeked Hummel child.

Existing solely to save the planet by generating clean, affordable and environmentally friendly electricity, you can be sure that any addition to the plant owner’s bank account is purely accidental.

Hogwash!

In reality, the U.S. industrial wind business was rescued by Ken Lay and Enron with quick, low-risk profit as its core goal. As Gabriel Alonso, chief executive of Horizon Wind Energy LLC – one of America’s biggest wind developers, often reminds his employees … their goal isn’t to stage a renewable-energy revolution … “This is about making money!”

Once a Believer

I was not always this cynical. I wanted to believe that industrial wind would replace fossil fuelled power plants and, until two years ago, defended its arrival here. Like many West Virginians, I wanted the destruction of our mountains by those who profit from the blue diamond stopped … NOW!

I believed industrial wind offered the best opportunity to accomplish that goal and, even recognizing industrial wind also consumes our forest lands, it seemed an excellent alternative to the coal industry’s horribly destructive mountaintop removal mining process.

Sadly, once the layers of woulds, coulds and shoulds were peeled back, I found industrial wind failed to keep its environmental promises. Save the canned boilerplate responses to criticisms, the wind industry offered nothing conclusive to demonstrate it would significantly reduce emissions or close fossil fuelled plants. There is no conclusive evidence that one coal plant has been closed as a direct result of the installation of tens of thousands of wind turbines. Not one! I’ve asked advocates to name one facility. Answer … zippo!

I fully expect advocates to point to many studies which validate their woulds and shoulds. But the studies they point to carry their own fair share of woulds and shoulds as well.

We’re even asked to disregard the increased emissions generated by fossil fueled plants as they inefficiently try to compensate for wind’s constant variability and accept that, on their word alone, when the wind is blowing, a coal plant, somewhere, is not running. That’s equivalent to some self-appointed Giraffe Control Officer bragging that not one has been spotted in Charleston during his watch.

Consider this measure instead. US industrial wind capacity at the end of 2010 exceeded 40,000 MW. The U.S. has some 490 coal power plants with an average size of 667 MW. A direct one-to-one trade would have closed some 60 coal plants. Again … name one!

Bringing this closer to home … Edison Mission Energy is heavily invested in Appalachian coal-fired power plants even as it grows its Appalachian wind plants. Can we expect Edison to replace its fossil plants as it opens wind plants with equivalent MW capacity? Will any of the major players holding significant interest in both fossil fueled plants and wind plants make this commitment? I suggest they will not, as long as there is profit to be made from each.

The sad truth is that industrial wind does not replace fossil-fueled electricity generators. It does not reduce emissions. It does not provide affordable, on-demand electricity. The relatively miniscule amount of electricity generated typically arrives when it’s not needed and cannot effectively be stored. Industrial wind, true to Ken Lay’s intent, is a profit center founded on favorable legislation, mandated renewable energy goals and funded by taxpayer subsidies.

Conversion Experience

I did not come to the “dark side” willingly. At the suggestion of a friend, I attended a presentation on industrial wind at which the speaker systematically destroyed any notion that industrial wind has earned a seat at the US energy table.

Expecting yet another NIMBY rant, the presenter [ed. note: John Droz Jr.] instead based his case that industrial wind is a failed technology on science alone. There was little mention of view-shed, bat/bird kills, noise or health issues, all of which I’ve since learned are serious issues in their own right. The presenter focused primarily on the poor performance and high cost of industrial wind and the fact that it could never replace current generators, my main reason for initially supporting industrial wind.

Knowing that the two key representatives of our proposed wind plant were introduced as being in the audience, I could hardly wait for the question-and-answer session. This was going to be a knock down for the ages! Just wait until they set this clown straight!

Then, the presenter wrapped up and said the magic words I’d been waiting for … Any Questions? My gladiators stood up and walked out! Not a word! No defense! How could they let this brutal attack stand?

That was my turning point. Suspicion drove me to read any article I could find about industrial wind, and the more I learned the more I disliked these monstrous contraptions which were scheduled to invade my Appalachian Mountains by the tens of thousands.

What I Have Learned

Before this event, I was willing, like many of my friends, to sacrifice a mountain view, some bats and birds and even the hard earned tax dollars these wind folks would pick from my pocket if it meant the greater good would be served.

What I learned, however, lead me to the conclusion that there is no trade.

• Coal plants will continue to exist at pre-wind levels and the mines will remain open in order to supply them.
• Emissions will not be reduced as a result of industrial wind. When asked if wind power was reducing carbon emissions, Deb Malin, a Bonneville Power Authority Representative, answered, “No. They are, in fact, creating emissions.”
• Not only will the surface destruction brought about by mountain top removal mining not be reduced as a result of wind plants, industrial wind will bring destruction well above the ground in areas not previously impacted by mountain top removal.
• The cumulative impact of long stretches of deadly 450 foot tall whirlybirds along our fragile mountain ridges will set a deadly gauntlet for many migratory species with no real benefit to show for the sacrifice.
• The arguably unnecessary remote wind installations require long runs of forest fragmenting high power lines required to bring the occasional electricity generated to a point of use.
• My picked pocket only serves to benefit the wind developers.

I cannot abide the suggestion that we must sacrifice our environment in order to save it. This is an absurd argument enabling this energy imposter’s invasion of delicate habitat with little return. Sacrifice is, after all, a forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of something one considered to have a greater value or claim. Environmentalists must consider the possibility that industrial wind, by its failure to perform to stated goals, does not then qualify for this sacred consideration.

Affiliations

My comments here are my own. I am a member of the Board of Directors for the Allegheny Highlands Alliance, but do not speak for the organization in this commentary. I serve as editor of the Allegheny Treasures blog, an amateur site intended not to answer questions, but instead to stimulate discussion of industrial wind among readers, as I hope to do in this piece.

I arrived at my opinions after all consideration to the argument presented by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and other industrial wind support groups. I’ll be the first to admit I could be wrong, as I was when I supported industrial wind just two years ago. If a persuasive argument can be made to sway me back, I assure you I’ll happily move.

But I should warn you, the argument must begin with a list of coal- plant closings and not easily manipulated speculative “data.” Empty promises will not justify consuming even one more square inch of Appalachian forest.

Oh, before I’m criticized on the property rights issue … I firmly believe that you should be allowed to do anything you wish with your property as long as it brings no harm to others. But whatever you choose, don’t ask me to underwrite your adventure with my tax money in the form of subsidies, grants, or any other considerations from which you profit.

Beyond NIMBY

I am not insulted at the NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) moniker the wind advocates apply to me. I would take it one step further and suggest they call me a NOPE (not-on-planet-earth)!

I believe we are all responsible for our environment and must challenge every intrusion. We cannot accept, without question, the possibility that what has been portrayed as a solution may, in fact, create additional ills, no matter how much we want to believe.

Moving the country away from fossil fuels is one thing; choosing an alternative with no proven track record in accomplishing this effort, especially one with industrial wind’s potential for serious environmental destruction is quite another.

By. Michael Morgan

Michael Morgan is a “no party” West Virginian with a self-described “nose for nonsense.” A semi-retired Project Management and Transportation Consultant, he worked as Transportation/Materials Manager for an international manufacturer of large hydro turbine equipment and, before that, as Materials Manager with a Fortune 500 company.

“While I can’t claim to be an environmentalist,” Morgan adds, “growing up along the Allegheny Front dictates a respect for the environment and demands scrutiny of any intrusion.”

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USA: Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound Releases Statement Regarding Cape Wind Energy Deal

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Yesterday, Audra Parker, President & CEO of Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound released a statement regarding SJC uphold of Cape Wind energy deal.

“Today’s ruling is a blow to ratepayers, businesses, and municipalities who are being asked to bear billions of dollars in new electricity costs when other green energy alternatives are available at a fraction of the cost.

The good news is the increasingly clear reality that Cape Wind will never be built. Cape Wind has been denied FAA approval, has been denied critical Federal loan guarantees, has no utility willing to buy half its power, and cannot find investors. Those facts alone render this decision moot.”

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Gone with the Wind Subsidies

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Nicolas Loris
December 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

The year 2012 marks a monumental yet depressing milestone for the wind energy industry: 20 years of tax credits.

The federal renewable energy production tax credit, which allows wind producers to take a 30 percent investment tax credit or receive a 2.2-cents-per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit, has been around since 1992. The tax credit expires at the end of 2012, and the wind energy advocates are already ramping up their efforts to include an extension in any end-of-the-year must-pass legislation. It’s time to let this wasteful, unnecessary subsidy run out.

The Wrong Way to Promote Technology

Let’s take it back to 1992. The parents are watching Murphy Brown, the kids are watching Full House, and people are rockin’ out to Nirvana and Dr. Dre. (Some things never change.) And wind was ready to usher in a new era of energy production. In fact, Matthew Wald wrote in a 1992 New York Times article, “A New Era for Windmill Power,” that “striking improvements in technology, the commercial use of these windmills, or wind turbines as the builders call them, has shown that in addition to being pollution free, they can now compete with fossil fuels in the cost of producing electricity.”

He went on: “Kingsley E. Chatton, president of U.S. Windpower, which operates 22 new-generation windmills here, said the economics of wind power was at the point where it ‘will compete with fossil fuel.’ Others agree.”

Twenty years of subsidies later, wind still only provides a paltry 2.3 percent of America’s electricity in 2010, and it still needs subsidies.

Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D, argues that government subsidies are obstructing innovation in the renewable-energy sector:

Operating subsidies, or installation subsidies, helps get clean energy sources installed but the problem is that current technology is not economically competitive. Everything we do needs to be done with a view toward global competitiveness. Unfortunately, because current technology is not economical relative to alternatives, it does not promote our competitiveness.

The problem is that subsidies promote technological malaise. They take away the incentive to innovate and lower cost by promoting business models geared more toward gaining favor with politicians than on technological innovation. The result is that subsidized industries quickly become dependent on government. At that point, long-term competitiveness becomes secondary to near-term survival, which is generally conditioned on more handouts.

Thus when the government support is threatened, the propped-up industry responds with pleas for more handouts. Recognizing that their survival depends more on securing subsidies than on technological innovation, subsidized industries reject such investments to the extent that they too are not subsidized by government. Hence, the vicious cycle of subsidies inevitably result in technological stagnation.

When 2.2 Cents Adds Up

That 2.2 cents doesn’t sound like much, but it is on average 40 percent of the wholesale price of electricity. Treasury says the tax credits costs taxpayers $1.5 billion annually. This is uncalled for. Not only is the nation facing $15 trillion of debt, but it already has access to ample supplies of diverse electricity sources that are perfectly capable of meeting our energy demands so long as government gets out of the way. Not only are the subsidies not needed, but they do not work. So regardless of our debt problems, taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing any energy source.

Artificially Creating Politically Preferred Jobs and More Lobbying Jobs Will Not Grow Our Economy

Wind-energy advocacy groups are on their megaphones screaming that without the extension of the tax credits, thousands of jobs will be lost. This is a half true, at best.

Subsidizing uneconomical industries, as perhaps the wind-energy tax credit has done for two decades, shifts labor and capital away from other sectors of the economy. Removing the subsidy would free up these resources to be more productive elsewhere in the U.S. economy. In the process, jobs that rely on taxpayer handouts would likely go away. But the newly available resources could then go toward the likely creation of more and better jobs.

If we produce more wind energy without subsidies, all the better, but the American Wind Energy Association says that may not be the case if the tax credit expires. Spokesman Peter Kelly said, “Industrywide we are seeing a slowdown in orders for towers and turbines after 2012 that is rippling down the supply chain and the big issue is the lack of certainty around the production tax credit that gives a favorable low tax rate to renewable energy.”

President of the Cheyenne and Laramie County economic development organization Randy Bruns echoed, “A lot of these projects, the economics change without that tax credit.”

If wind energy is not economically viable without the taxpayers’ crutch, then we’re propping up a market loser. If wind energy is a market winner, the subsidy is taking money out of the taxpayers’ wallets and putting into the hands of the wind producers. Neither case makes any sense.

Removing the government’s influence in the market reduces the need for more office space on K Street in Washington, D.C., the central hub of lobbyists. Just yesterday, Occupy Wall Street shut down K Street with protests, but they should direct their message to the root cause of lobbying—government controlling decisions that are best left for the private sector. If Occupy Wall Street is sincere in its fight against crony capitalism, it would be arguing for less government intervention into the economy, not more.

These problems will continue to persist so long as politicians continue to expand subsidies for their pet projects. When it comes to energy subsidies, we need to prevent the new and repeal the old.

That’s my 2.2 cents. I’d like to keep them in my own pocket.

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UK: Trump Demands Public Inquiry into Proposed Offshore Wind Farm

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DONALD Trump has asked the Scottish Government to hold a public inquiry into plans for a windfarm off the coast from his £750million golf resort.

The property tycoon claims 11 giant turbines erected at a European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in the North Sea, would be visible from his controversial links course at Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.

Trump has already heavily criticised the plans and wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond saying that the proposal was “environmentally irresponsible”.

And now his lawyers have contacted Energy Minister Fergus Ewing requesting a hearing into the plans.

A letter, sent by Ann Faulds of legal team Dundas and Wilson, read: “A public inquiry into the proposed development is necessary to explore all material considerations, and to ensure a proper evidential base to inform Scottish ministers’ determination of the application.

“In particular, the potential economic impact of the proposed development on my client’s development, and by extension the regional and Scottish economy, has not been addressed in the environmental statement submitted in respect of the application.”

Trump’s son, Donald Jnr said he feared the public had not fully understood the impact the turbines could have and added: “I don’t think the public realise how close to the shore they are going to be, so I think there needs to be a hearing.”

But the windfarm, one-and-a-half miles from the course, and a £150million joint venture between utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, has generated hundreds of letters of support.

By Stephen Wilkie (express)

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The Netherlands: Norwind Installer and Ulstein Join Forces on New Offshore Wind Foundation Installation Vessel

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Norwegian based NorWind Installer contracted the ULSTEIN Dutch design offices Ulstein Sea of Solutions and Ulstein IDEA Equipment Solutions as their design partners for a new foundation installation vessel for the offshore wind industry. The vessel is a customized version of the Deepwater Enabler design from ULSTEIN.

The DP vessel is designed for world-wide operations with a focus on pre-piling and jacket/tripod/transition piece installation for the offshore wind industry in North Europe. Different deck layouts, based upon NorWind Installer’s installation experience from Alpha Ventus, have been developed for the various installation modes on top of the generic vessel platform provided by ULSTEIN.

The approach for this design has been unique in the sense that NorWind Installer and ULSTEIN started this project by going through the ULSTEIN Accelerated Business Development process. Technical and operational options from both NorWind Installer and ULSTEIN were discussed in a transparent process resulting in the most viable option, which met NorWind Installer’s business model and requirements.

”We are pleased with the concept as it is definitely in line with our vision of combining state-of-the-art technical solutions with the speed and seakeeping capacity of DP vessels. It gives us the opportunity to provide our installation services all-year around in up to 2.5m Hs, as well as meeting our client’s cost targets”, states Thorbjørn Hansen, VP Product Development at NorWind Installer.

The Netherlands: Norwind Installer and Ulstein Join Forces on New Offshore Wind Foundation Installation Vessel

The vessel is designed aiming for maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness and features an 800t heave compensated offshore crane on starboard side, while a pre-piling template can be located on a support structure at the stern. The vessel can carry four jackets, alternatively at least 24 piles or up to 12 transition pieces on the large open aft deck.

To enhance vessel operability, the anti-heeling system has been designed in such a way that the main crane can revolve over 180o with a full load in its main hook within 5 minutes, which is very favorable having a large jacket in the crane hook.

When operating in the pre-piling mode, the pre-piling template is positioned on the seabed by the main crane, in parallell a pile is picked up by a gantry crane, put in the upending frame on starboard side and upended. The main crane has been modified by ULSTEIN in such a way that it can first pick-up the piling hammer with its main hook and then connect to the upended pile with its auxiliary hook. When the hammer is working on driving the pile into the seabed, the next pile is upended by the upending frame and made ready for crane lift out.

The large aft deck and AHC crane provide flexibility for serving alternative subsea and offshore markets in the future, which is further increased by the two large holds suitable for carroussels located below main deck. A deck layout version of the vessel has also been developed for tidal turbine installations.

Voith Schneider propellers of 3,900 kW each will allow for a cruising speed of 13 knots and enhance the DP capabilities of the vessel. To minimize the environmental footprint an NOx reduction system is installed in the exhaust lines.

“After working closely with NorWind Installer in the ABD process, ULSTEIN started developing the integrated concept for mission equipment and vessel. This project shows the combined strength we can offer to support our clients in realizing their visions”, says Edwin van Leeuwen, project manager at ULSTEIN.

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