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Interior Department Leaders Tour First Offshore Wind Turbine Installation Vessel

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Dr. Steve Feldgus, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Elizabeth Klein and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Deputy Director Paul Huang today toured Dominion Energy’s wind turbine installation vessel Charybdis under construction at the Keppel AmFELS shipyard.  

The Charybdis is slated to be the first U.S.-built and Jones Act-qualified offshore wind installation vessel. Currently under construction in Brownsville, Texas, the Charybdis used more than 14,000 tons of domestic steel, mostly sourced from Alabama, North Carolina and West Virginia.  

When completed, the vessel will be based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia and operated by a U.S. crew. The installation vessel will support the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) commercial project, which the Interior Department approved in October 2023. The CVOW project will provide about 2,600 megawatts of clean, reliable offshore wind energy, capable of powering over 660,000 homes. The project is expected to provide about 900 jobs each year during the construction phase and support an estimated 1,100 annual jobs during the operations phase, generating vital economic development for Virginia’s Hampton Roads area and supporting investments in the Virginia coastal region as a hub for offshore wind development and support. 

The Charybdis is designed to be able to handle next generation wind energy turbine sizes of 14.7 megawatts and larger, with an anticipated construction completion by late 2024 or in 2025.  

BSEE has been responsible for overseeing all stages of the CVOW commercial project’s lease development and will continue to manage its construction and operations, including the 176 turbines that the Charybdis will be installing. Throughout the process, the project will remain under continual BSEE oversight to ensure the safe installation and commissioning of turbines, offshore substations, subsea cables, and all offshore energy facilities. Currently, BSEE is evaluating the wind turbine generator design and installation procedures to ensure they are suitable for withstanding the conditions off the coast of Virginia for the project’s entire 33-year planned duration.  

Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Interior Department has approved the nation's first six commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, with the first two offshore wind projects now generating commercial scale power. This historic progress helps support the Biden-Harris administration’s goals to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind energy capacity by 2035.   

BOEM has held four offshore wind lease auctions under Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s leadership, which have brought in almost $5.5 billion in high bids to the U.S. Treasury, including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and New Jersey and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. The Department has also advanced the process to explore additional opportunities for offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, and offshore Oregon and the Central Atlantic coast. The Department is applying its offshore energy expertise and knowledge to offshore wind to drive toward union-built projects that are safe for workers, environmentally sustainable, and rely on a domestic-based supply chain. 

While in Texas, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Feldgus also attended the CERAWeek conference, where he highlighted how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is helping to streamline clean energy permitting processes and mapping critical minerals, which are essential for powering everything from household appliances and electronics to clean energy technologies like batteries and wind turbines.