First U.S. WTIV is Launched in Texas for Dominion Energy

Charybis WTIV
Hull of Charybis during a March 2024 site inspection by Department of the Interior officials (BOEM)

Published Apr 15, 2024 4:23 PM by The Maritime Executive


The U.S. offshore wind sector marked another milestone with the launch of the first U.S. wind turbine installation vessel, which is being built for Dominion Energy. It is the latest example of the benefits to the shipbuilding industry from the emerging offshore wind sector.

Work on the vessel which will measure 472 feet in length when completed began in December 2020. Dominion reports welding of the ship's hull and commissioning of the vessel's four legs and related jacking system have been completed before today’s launch at Seatrium AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas. The vessel’s launch according to the companies marked a historical achievement as the world's largest completed lift totaling 23,000 tons.

The vessel's hull and infrastructure were fabricated with more than 14,000 tons of domestic steel, with nearly 10,000 tons sourced from Alabama, West Virginia, and North Carolina suppliers. Outfitting is now underway with the vessel designed to handle turbine sizes of 12 megawatts or larger. 

Dominion reports that there is no change to the vessel's timeline which supports the current Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) construction schedule. When the vessel was ordered, they said it was scheduled for delivery in late 2023 but recently the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management during a tour of the construction reported the ship is due in late 2024 or early 2025. When completed, the home port for the vessel will be in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

"Charybdis is vital not only to CVOW, but also to the growth of the offshore wind industry along the U.S. East Coast and is key to the continued development of a domestic supply chain by providing a homegrown solution for the installation of offshore wind turbines," said Bob Blue, Dominion Energy's chair, president and chief executive officer.

Dominion is proceeding with the construction of its first offshore wind farm, which is expected to be the largest in the U.S. when it is completed. The company reports it received its final federal approvals and permits from the Environmental Protection Agency and it expects to start offshore monopile installation in May. Dominion has been staging the components for the 176 monopoles in Virginia since late 2023 in anticipation of this phase of the project.

Coinciding with that announcement, DEME reported that its installation vessel the Orion has departed for Virginia where it will begin the monopole work for Dominion. The ship, which was also used for the installation of the Vineyard project in Massachusetts, recently completed work on 29 monopiles over approximately two months for Ocean Winds’ Moray West offshore wind farm project in Scotland. 

Dominion’s installation vessel which is named Charybdis will take over during a later phase of the project which is due for completion in 2026. Ørsted had previously reported that it planned to charter the WTIV from Dominion for work on its planned Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind projects. As the only U.S. WTIV and being Jones Act compliant, the Charybdis is expected to remain busy in the domestic market. Other installation plans call for a feeder ship model using U.S. barges and tugs to move components from the staging ports in the U.S. to foreign-registered installation vessels which will be positioned offshore at the sites.