dominion energy wind turbine installation vessel

An illustration shows a planned Jones Act-compliant offshore wind installation vessel under construction for Dominion Energy. Illustration courtesy Dominion Energy

Keel Laid for First Jones Act-Compliant Offshore Wind Installation Vessel

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 5383
December 16, 2020

Construction of the first Jones Act-compliant offshore wind installation vessel has hit a major milestone with the keel being laid at the Keppel AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas.

With delivery scheduled for the end of 2023, the vessel will be based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia and used to support the installation of over 5 gigawatts of planned offshore wind power projects off the U.S. East Coast through 2027.

Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion Energy is leading the development.

“This is a monumental step for the offshore wind industry in America,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy’s president and chief executive officer. “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 U.S.”

The jack-up vessel will measure 472-feet long by 184-feet wide, a draft of 38 feet, and will have accommodations for up to 119 people. It is designed to handle turbines ranging in size of up 12 megawatt or larger. The main Huisman crane has a boom length of 426 feet and an expected lifting capacity of 2,200 tons.

Dominion Energy has contracted Keppel AmFELS, a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, for the engineering, procurement and construction of the vessel, which is designed by GustoMSC. Dominion estimates the overall cost of the project to be about $500 million.

Once built, the vessel will be available for charter, including by Dominion Energy Virginia in connection with its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project, a planned full-scale 2,640MW project adjacent to the company’s existing two turbine 12MW pilot project located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported on the challenges of constructing and using Jones Act-compliant vessels for offshore wind installations, finding that there are currently no U.S.-built ships suited for installing wind turbines in the United States.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, offshore wind projects planned for off the U.S. East Coast are estimated to generate some 30,000 megawatts, 83,000 jobs, and $25 billion in economic activity by 2030.

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