Dominion Energy has reached a major milestone – the keel laying – in the construction of the first Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel
The vessel, to be named Charybdis, is being built at Keppel AmFELS at its Brownsville, Texas shipyard.
Dominion Energy president and chief executive Robert M Blue said, “This is a monumental step for the offshore wind industry in America. Dominion Energy is proud to be leading a consortium of respected industry participants in the construction of the first Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel, which will provide significant American jobs, and provide a reliable, home-grown installation solution with the capacity to handle the next generation of large-scale, highly efficient turbine technologies. This will better enable the offshore wind industry to bring clean, renewable energy to customers in the US.”
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said, “Offshore wind is bringing clean energy and new jobs to America and Virginia is leading the way. This new vessel will help propel the offshore wind supply chain, drive economic development in Hampton Roads, and grow the offshore wind workforce in our Commonwealth. We are thrilled to celebrate great news like this in what has been a challenging year.”
US Senator Mark R Warner said, “Today marks a critical step forward in the development of the offshore wind industry in Virginia and across the east coast.
“Construction of the first Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel serves as another vital link in the growing domestic manufacturing supply chain to support offshore wind energy development here in the US. This vessel will enable the timely construction of planned offshore wind development projects on the east coast, including the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project.”
Dominion Energy expects the vessel to be fully utilised in support of the installation of more than 5 GW of offshore wind generation off the east coast of the US through 2027 and beyond.
Once complete, the vessel will be based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia with a US crew.
The vessel is designed to handle current-generation turbines as well as next-generation turbines of 12 MW or more and will also be capable of installing foundations for turbines and other heavy lifts.
The overall project cost, including construction and commissioning and excluding financing costs, is estimated to be around US$500M.
Financing for the vessel has been arranged through a lease financing agreement with leading global banks. Construction and financing costs will not impact Dominion Energy Virginia’s customers’ bills.
Once constructed, the vessel will be available for charter hire, including by Dominion Energy Virginia, subject to the approval of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, in connection with the installation of its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project.
In August 2020, Dominion Energy selected Huisman to fabricate the crane to be used on the offshore wind turbine installation vessel. The main crane has lifting capacity of 2,200 tonnes.
NOV chairman, president and chief executive officer Clay Williams (NOV owns GustoMSC, which designed the vessel) said, “NOV is proud to be part of this historic effort to harness offshore wind.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Dominion Energy, Seajacks, and Keppel AmFELS to develop the first jack-up vessel for the US market.”
UK-based Seajacks will assist Dominion Energy with construction and operations oversight.
Seajacks chief executive Blair Ainslie said, “This next-generation turbine installation jack-up vessel is vital to the safe and cost-effective deployment of offshore wind energy in the US.
“Seajacks operates a fleet of offshore installation jack-ups in Europe and Asia and is looking forward to developing the offshore wind supply chain in the US with our partners.”
Offshore wind generation is a vital part of Dominion Energy’s comprehensive clean energy strategy to meet standards outlined in the Virginia Clean Economy Act and to achieve the company’s net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions commitment by 2050.
The two-turbine, 12-MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project, located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, recently became operational, while awaiting the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) final technical review.
Surveys and geotechnical work are also underway for the 2.64-GW CVOW commercial project, which will be located in a lease area adjacent to the pilot project.
The surveys will support the development of the project’s construction and operations plan, which is to be submitted to BOEM this month.