The Charybdis, the first U.S. flagged, Jones Act-compliant wind turbine installation vessel, was launched at the Seatrium AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, Dominion Energy announced April 15.

 The 472’ WTIV is the first U.S.-built entry to the offshore wind installation market, where the high international market drives up costs and lowers availability for U.S. project developers. When complete the Charybdis will support Dominion’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, a planned 176 turbines with a maximum nameplate output rating of 2.6 gigawatts.

Dominion recently received its final federal permit for the project – a final construction air permit from the Environmental Protection Agency – and expects to begin installing monopile foundations in May, according to the company.

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.  

Seatrium moved the vessel from land to water at its Brownsville yard. To get to that milestone, welding of the ship's hull and commissioning of the vessel's four legs and related jacking system were successfully completed.

At its peak, the project employed more than 1,200 workers. After commissioning, the Charybdis will be homeported in Hampton Roads, Va., with a U.S. crew. 

“Seatrium's AmFELS shipyard has partnered with Dominion Energy in this ground-breaking project to supply the first U.S. Jones Act-compliant WTIV, Charybdis, playing a critical role in the country's energy transition,” said Chris Ong, Seatrium's chief executive officer. 

“The U.S.-built vessel will not only contribute to reliable, affordable, and clean energy but also benefit local communities by creating significant local know-how and job opportunities, paving the way for future growth in the U.S. offshore wind industry.” 

The vessel's hull and infrastructure was fabricated with more than 14,000 tons of domestic steel, with nearly 10,000 tons sourced from Alabama, West Virginia and North Carolina suppliers. The vessel is designed to handle turbine sizes of 12 megawatts or larger. The vessel launch marked a historical achievement as the world's largest completed lift totaling 23,000 tons.