Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm to Supply Homes with Renewable Energy


Published Dec 17, 2023 8:00 AM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Sarens]

Located about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, this wind farm, the largest one in the US, will have 176 turbines and will prevent the emission of greenhouse gasses equivalent to those produced by one million vehicles per year.

Sarens will be in charge of receiving and loading out the monopiles and transition pieces for the 176 turbines, as well as the jackets and topsides for the three offshore substations that will make up the facility, in a job that will last until 2025.

The Coastal Virginia offshore wind farm, located between 27 and 42 miles (43-67 km) off the coast of Virginia Beach, will be able to produce renewable energy for more than 660,000 homes in the region, and avoid the emission of greenhouse gasses equivalent to removing one million vehicles from the road each year, once it becomes operational in 2026.

This new facility, operated by Dominion Energy, will have 176 turbines with an energy output of approximately 2.6 GW, divided into three areas. In each area, the turbines will be connected by Inter Array Cables to each of the three offshore substations, where the power produced will be transformed from 66kV to 235kV. From these stations, the energy will travel to shore via three 235kV 3-core cables.

Sarens, world leader in heavy lifting, engineered transport and crane rental, has been commissioned by Virginia International Terminals (VIT) to receive and load out the monopiles and transition pieces for the 176 turbines, as well as the jackets on which the three substations and their corresponding topsides will be placed, in a job that will last until 2025.

The first transport operation of this kind took place on October 19th, when the vessel Sun Shine arrived at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal with the first eight monopiles from Rostock (Germany). Once there, the Sarens team unloaded these parts from their shipping saddles and transported them to the place where they will be stored before travelling to their final location.

There are currently only 12 offshore wind facilities on the east coast of the USA, of which the Coastal Virginia Offshore will be the largest, also in the whole country. This project will also be a critical resource to achieve the Commonwealth of Virginia's goals and Dominion Energy's goal of achieving net zero in the fifteen states in which it operates.

As a preliminary phase to the development of this new farm, a pilot project was launched in October 2020 with the installation of two offshore turbines with a generating capacity of 6MW 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, which have contributed to powering more than 3,000 homes. Once the pilot phase was completed, the project received final approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission in 2022 and, in 2023, work began on the manufacture of the wind turbine components to be used in the wind farm.

Sarens owns extensive international experience in the assembly and maintenance of wind farms. It is participating in installations in France such as Fécamp, Saint Nazaire, Provence Grand Large or more recently, in the lifting and transport work for the foundation bases of the new offshore wind farm in Saint Brieuc, off the Brittany coast, where it has been able to transport loads of more than 1,150 tons.

Regarding the transport and installation of electrical substations for offshore wind farms, Sarens also has proven experience, as it was responsible for the logistical maneuvers required for the transport of a 2,922-ton substation in the port of Hoboken, in Antwerp (Belgium) to the Racebank wind farm, off Norfolk's coast.

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