Geotechnical, Marine, And Coastal Design Options For

April 11, 2022

As reported in a Maritime Reporter and Engineering Information February 2022 article, Offshore Wind Improvement Features Pace in america, the offshore wind (OSW) market is starting to warmth up. The White Home coverage goal of 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, growing the Bureau of Ocean Power Administration’s (BOEM’s) leasing awards, and allowing goal approval dates, along with extra state power procurement awards, are creating demand for extra port infrastructure, Jones Act compliant vessels, and manufacturing amenities for wind farm parts.  

Just lately a examine (Parkison, Sara B. and Willett Kempton, “Marshalling Ports Required to Meet US Offshore Wind Energy Coverage Targets” Power Coverage, Quantity 163, April 2022), concluded that provide (and storage space) of US marshalling port infrastructure for offshore wind initiatives is inadequate to fulfill the speedy demand by 2023 and much in need of that wanted for projected coverage targets by way of 2050.

The problem forward for the U.S. market is to develop sufficient marshalling space for long-term, large-scale, and economically environment friendly use by the OSW trade. The demand for investing in redeveloping port infrastructure that may allow the logistics of lifting and shifting heavy offshore wind energy parts by specialty vessels is at an all-time excessive. Federal, state and personal funding is turning into out there for redeveloping our ports.
GZA has been engaged on engineering design groups offering geotechnical, marine, and coastal engineering providers for port house owners, contractors, and OSW builders on a number of offshore wind ports on the east coast.  The geotechnical, marine, and coastal engineering options which can be out there to enhance the load capability of ports and waterfront properties for the OSW trade are mentioned.  

After!: Pictures Courtesy of Connecticut Port Authority. Rendering Artist: Jennifer Gottlieb, AIA NCARB ENV SP at AECOM


Offshore Wind port amenities include two areas of concern; a waterfront ship servicing berth with heavy loadout capability; and an upland space for transport, storage, marshalling, and/or manufacturing of OSW parts.  The waterfront berth should present a deep sufficient dredge elevation to accommodate the transport vessels near the loadout gear.  Such gear might embody roll on-roll off ramps or high-capacity fastened place or cell cranes.  The transport vessels can also require a ready backside or submarine construction to permit spud jacking for hydrodynamic stability.  The upland areas should help motion storage, and meeting of the OSW parts previous to loadout and transport to the offshore wind farm.

The primary OSW terminal in america, the New Bedford (Massachusetts) Marine Commerce Terminal, was a totally new, purpose-built facility.  It included a mobile bulkhead, a deep dredged berth, a waterside relieving platform for crane help, and an intensive gravel surfaced upland space.  It’s not possible that there shall be many extra newly constructed port amenities.  Extra generally, the longer term OSW terminals shall be rehabilitated under-used or functionally out of date current port amenities.

Due to the anticipated excessive demand and quick time-frame, quite a few current waterfront amenities are into consideration, in design, or presently beneath development (Port of Windfall, South Quay-East Windfall and Quonset Level, RI, New London and Bridgeport, CT, Salem and Brayton Level, MA, and Paulsboro, NJ).  Reuse and repurposing of current properties can current challenges.

As said above, the OSW trade has sure necessities that many ageing ports presently don’t meet.  Restricted dredge depth, deteriorated bulkheads and quay partitions, and restricted floor load capacities of pier and wharf buildings and adjoining upland areas must be addressed.  As a result of the large-scale improvement wants of the OSW trade is for a restricted time-frame (10 to twenty years) inside a selected native, quick to medium time period fixes could also be so as.  A brand new relieving platform could possibly span over an previous bulkhead, seawall, or rip-rap slope to succeed in deeper water.  Comparatively cheap remoted mooring dolphins would possibly accomplish the identical objective.  An remoted pile supported crane platform might enable loading and off-loading with out requiring heavy floor capability adjoining to current waterfront buildings.  Each current marine facility has a mixture of structural, geotechnical, and coastal points that must be holistically assessed.

Upland areas even have issues with storage capability, topography, elevation, and most significantly subsurface situations.  Restricted cupboard space could possibly be elevated by procuring further adjoining parcels.  Adjusting floor elevation and topography is straightforward to perform if the subsurface soil situations are ample.  Poor subsurface soil situations can usually be improved, at affordable prices, utilizing normal earthwork or the proper floor enchancment methods.  Designing for precise element and automobile floor load pressures quite than unrealistically excessive “developer requested” uniform floor pressures can lead to substantial price financial savings to a undertaking.  

Each current port facility has its personal set of constructive and unfavourable situations.  Because the music goes: You bought to intensify the constructive, Get rid of the unfavourable, Latch on to the affirmative, and Don’t (ever, ever, ever) mess with Mr. in-between.    

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