First Monopile Stands at Largest US Offshore Wind Farm

DEME Group’s heavy lift vessel, Orion, has installed the first monopile foundation for the 2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, the largest offshore wind farm under construction in the US.

The first six monopiles were loaded onto DEME Group’s Orion this month, and the vessel headed to the offshore construction site approximately 43 kilometres off the coast of Virginia.

Dominion Energy, the developer of the CVOW project, selected a consortium of DEME and Prysmian as the Balance of Plant (BoP) contractors in charge of the transportation and installation of the foundations and the substations, and the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) services for the inter-array and export cables.

The 176 monopile foundations, which are being staged at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, are single vertical, steel cylinders manufactured by EEW SPC. The company sent the first batch from its factory in Rostock, Germany, to the Port of Virginia’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal in September 2023.

Now that the first monopile has been installed at the site, the installation of the remaining 1,000-tonne units will continue throughout the autumn, until 1 November.

The process will then be halted until the end of April 2025 to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whales during their anticipated migration through the project area, said Dominion Energy.

According to the developer, additional measures to protect whales and other aquatic life include the use of bubble curtains to create a wall of bubbles around the monopiles during the installation to reduce soundwaves underwater. Vessels will also be staffed by Protected Species Observes and will adhere to speed restrictions to avoid collisions with protected species, Dominion Energy said.

The monopile installation work will be resumed in May next year.

“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. Our talented project team will include skilled American union pile drivers, creating a robust and prepared workforce,” said Bill White, President of DEME Offshore US.

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The 2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind will feature 176 Siemens Gamesa 14 MW wind turbines and will become the biggest US offshore wind farm once in operation.

The project is currently wholly owned by Dominion Energy but is in the process of becoming a 50:50 partnership between Dominion Energy and the New York City-based investment firm Stonepeak.

“This is a monumental day for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind team, who have worked tirelessly to keep this project on budget and on schedule to provide our customers with reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy’s chair, president and chief executive officer.

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