Hochtief adds Vidar to wind fleet

Hochtief Solutions today launched into service its fourth installation vessel, Vidar, at a time when the erstwhile shortage of vessels within the offshore wind market appears to have come to an end.

Vidar, like its two predecessors Thor and Innovation, was built at the Crist shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, with Hochtief Solutions placing the order in early 2012.

Vidar will immediately be launched into service in the German North Sea installing blades on turbines at the 400MW Global Tech 1 project, whose largest shareholder is Stadtwerke München.

Vidar is smaller than Hochtief’s Innovation – which was launched last year – with a crane capable of lifting 1,200 tonnes and a load capacity of 6,500 tonnes – compared to 1,500 tonnes and 8,000 tonnes respectively for Innovation.

It is nevertheless one of the largest offshore wind-tailored vessels in the world, capable of installing the emerging generation of mega-turbines and foundations in water depths up to 50 metres.

Companies like Hochtief, Seajacks and RWE have raced to build offshore wind vessels over the past few years, with the shortage of such ships seen until recently as one of the industry’s critical pinch points.

But as more vessels have entered the market and expectations for the sector to 2020 have been reined in, the sentiment has begun pointing in the other direction.

Hochtief Solutions has not ordered any vessels since it commissioned Crist to build Vidar.

RWE recently revealed its intention to sell its two installation vessels, due in part to the greater availability and affordability of such vessels on the market.

Hochtief Solutions’ Innovation and Thor are currently installing foundations and Areva M5000 turbines at Global Tech 1.