Marine Link
Thursday, June 20, 2024

First Foundation Installed for Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 22, 2024

Orion in Scotland. Source: DEME Group

Orion in Scotland. Source: DEME Group

Dominion Energy has announced that the first monopile foundation for the 2.6-gigawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW), the largest offshore wind farm under construction in the United States, has been installed approximately 29 miles off the Virginia Beach coast.

The monopile was installed by the Orion, DEME Group's heavy lift vessel.

Once complete in late 2026, CVOW will consist of 176 turbines that will generate enough clean, renewable energy to power up to 660,000 homes and is expected to generate fuel savings of $3 billion for customers during the first 10 years of operation.

The monopile foundations, which are being staged at Portsmouth Marine Terminal, are single vertical, steel cylinders manufactured by global leader EEW SPC and are being installed into the sea floor to support the wind turbine generators. Consistent with the project construction schedule, Dominion Energy will continue to install monopiles through the fall of 2024 and resume installations in May 2025.

Bill White, President DEME Offshore US, said: "DEME's Orion vessel, equipped with industry-leading Vibro Hammer technology, is uniquely designed to efficiently install CVOW's massive monopiles, all weighing over 1,000 tons.” In April, the vessel completed monopile installation works on Ocean Winds’ Moray West offshore wind farm project in Scotland.

To be protective of the endangered North Atlantic right whale, no monopiles will be installed between November 1 and April 30, the time that the whales are expected to be migrating past the project area.  Additional measures to protect whales and other aquatic life include the use of bubble curtains – perforated hoses that have air pumped through them – to create a wall of bubbles around the monopiles during installation to reduce soundwaves underwater. Vessels will also be staffed by Protected Species Observers and will adhere to speed restrictions to avoid collisions with protected species.

More than 800 Virginia-based workers – nearly 670 in the Hampton Roads region – have been engaged on the CVOW project or with other businesses supporting CVOW. This work includes redevelopment activities at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, construction of the offshore wind Monitoring and Coordination Center, maritime provisioning, ship upkeep, heavy lift and rigging, cyber security, food service and hospitality. More than 1,000 local jobs will be needed to support ongoing operations and maintenance of this facility after the project begins commercial operation.