US utility Dominion Energy unveiled plans this week to build a Jones Act-qualified offshore wind installation vessel to support its growing investment in marine wind projects.
On May 5th in a conference call to investors, the energy company confirmed that it was part of a consortium formed to create the first USA-built offshore wind installation vessel. The company’s chief executive Thomas Farrell stated that the ship would be capable of handling all existing machinery, and also next-generation wind turbines. The unnamed group of companies will be sharing the financing of the vessel amongst themselves. It is expected to enter service in 2023. The company expects it will be utilized across the US OW industry, not be dedicated to Dominion Energy projects.
Thomas Farrell also told investors that construction has started on the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind demonstration project, as the primary project components for the project recently arrived in the USA, and completion is expected this year. Dominion Wind could, in the long-term, add another 2.6 GW project to its already-planned 2.6 GW commercial-scale project.
He said that the utility’s long-term goal was to develop around 5.2 GW of offshore wind by 2035, which would be 100% utility-owned.
Subsea survey work is also underway for the first 2.6 GW project. Dominion plans to submit a construction and operation plan (COP) to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management by the end of 2020.
The company intends to increase its investment in the OW sector: the capital investment program for offshore wind was $1.1Bn in its original 2019-23 plan. Investment in the period 2020-24 will expand to around $3.5Bn.
Total potential investment in offshore wind by Dominion Energy between 2020 and 2035 could be from $8 up to $17Bn.
Image: artist's concept of a next-generation heavy-lift installation vessel planned by Jan De Nul Group.
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