Dominion Energy Inc. (No. 12) will begin construction in May on its 2.6-GW offshore wind project off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va.—which will be the largest in the U.S. when finished—after receiving a final federal air quality permit. 

The firm also said April 15 that it completed land-based construction of Charybdis, the first U.S.-built offshore wind installation vessel that will be used to construct the $10-billion Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. The vessel was under construction since 2020 at a Brownsville, Texas, shipyard (see above). With its hull and four jackup legs finished, the 472-ft vessel was launched into a nearby waterway for added work by year end or early 2025 before it heads to Hampton Roads, Va.

Charybdis is the first such vessel to comply with a 1920s-era federal law that allows only those that are U.S.-made to travel among domestic ports or ocean sites for direct offshore wind turbine construction. It is built to handle 12-MW or larger turbines. The 176 Virginia turbines are each 14.7 MW. The $625-million vessel had been set for earlier contracted use on other Atlantic Ocean projects, but an estimated eight-month construction delay required alternatives for those—with impacts on project finances and schedules.

Charybdis “is key to continued development of a domestic supply chain,” Dominion CEO Bob Blue said.

The utility firm expects to build the first 88 of 176 monopiles to support turbines by Oct. 31, in advance of migrating endangered North Atlantic right whales, spokesman Jeremy Slayton told ENR. The rest will be constructed by October 2025. Belgian contractor DEME will build monopiles using its European vessel in a project area that extends from 27 miles to 42 miles offshore. Charybdis can install four turbines at a time.

Turbines will be installed during the second half of 2025, be commissioned serially over 18 months and are set to be in place by the end of 2026, according to Slayton.

“As construction of a bundle of turbines is completed, commissioning and power production will begin,” he said. Onshore construction of transmission lines to connect turbine power cables to the grid began in November 2023 and ramped up in January after the U.S. Interior Dept. approved Dominion’s construction and operations plan and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers okayed the project transmission line route.