The Jones Act in U.S. Offshore Wind: Challenge or Opportunity?
The Jones Act, long seen as a challenge for the US offshore wind industry, could potentially be an opportunity for the sector, experts have said.
“I like to look at the Jones Act as an incentive for shipyards, not an impediment,” said Joan Bondareff, chair of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority, of counsel at Blank Rome LLP and one of several specialists to address the audience at the US Offshore Wind 2018.
The Act, a federal law dating back to 1920, requires goods shipped between US ports to be transported on ships that are built in the US, mostly owned by US entities and operated by US citizens or permanent residents.
This means vessels created for the offshore wind industry in Europe could not operate on US wind farms unless they do so from European bases, or receive components and crew delivered by Jones Act compliant feeder vessels. However, creating new offshore installation vessels just for the US market is also likely to be costly, as it would likely be limited to the home market and not competitive for global application. “Foreign investors are looking at US companies for joint ventures to comply with the Jones Act for installation work,” Joan Bondareff added.