Kick Start US Offshore Wind

Dominion Energy: Scaling up a clean strategy

Dominion Energy is using the NG-16000X-SJ wind turbine installation jack-up vessel designed by GustoMSC to scale up renewable and reliable energy in the U.S. We discuss this interesting development with Karl Humberson, who is the Director at Dominion responsible for generation projects and generation construction.

Offshore wind generation is a vital part of Dominion Energy’s comprehensive clean energy strategy to meet standards set out in the Virginia Clean Economy Act and to achieve the company’s net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions commitment by 2050.
What developments do you foresee for the coming years in this respect?
Dominion Energy is committed to achieving the goals laid down in the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) and to remaining a reliable, sustainable energy provider. We expect the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to move forward with providing Notice of Intent (NOI) permits for not only Dominion Energy’s commercial wind project, but many more projects in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

This is an exciting and challenging time in the energy industry. Dominion Energy continues to look at new technologies and projects that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower the carbon footprint created when providing energy to customers. We will continue to invest in solar and wind, but we are also investing in other technologies such as batteries and green hydrogen to ensure that we remain a sustainable, environmentally conscious provider of reliable and affordable electricity.

  • Investing in the Power of Wind

    Energy to power up to 660,000 homes, with zero emissions and fuel costs.

    Critical in meeting Virginia’s renewable and clean energy commitments.

  • Investing in the Power of Wind

    Annual economic output up to $143 million during construction and $210 million during operation.

  • Investing in the Power of Wind

    900 jobs each year during construction.

    1,100 jobs each year during operation.

The political playing field has changed radically in the past period. In this respect, you could say that we are facing a new era.
What will be the most important impact of this change within our sector?
We are facing a new era of environmental awareness. The laws and policies issued by the U.S. government will be very important for how quickly the energy sector can advance. Political support for advancements such as offshore wind can have massive benefits in the energy industry as well as in other industries.

On a local level, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and the Virginia General Assembly have been vocal advocates for the development of the offshore wind industry. The Virginia Clean Economy Act includes support for up to 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind generation by 2035 with the Dominion Energy Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project providing more than 2,600 megawatts by 2026. The Commonwealth has invested in workforce development opportunities and improvements to the Port of Virginia to make the Hampton Roads region an attractive location for a domestic supply chain hub.

Phase I (Pilot) a two turbine, 12-megawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach

Phase I (Pilot) a two turbine, 12-megawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach

Phase I (Pilot) a two turbine, 12-megawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach

Phase I (Pilot) a two turbine, 12-megawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach

Map of US NE coast with planed and commissioned wind farms

Dominion Energy’s dedication to a clean environment continues to be reflected in renewable energy initiatives such as your Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project. It is only the second offshore wind project in the U.S. and the first owned by an electric utility company. As a benchmark, Dominion Energy has set itself an ambitious target of installing 5 gigawatts of U.S. offshore wind construction.
What can you tell us about Dominion Energy’s ambitions, and what are (and/or were) the major challenges in achieving these goals?
Offshore wind is a new industry in the United States. At present, the domestic supply chain for offshore has yet to be developed; the experience, tools, and infrastructure are still largely lacking today. The move to build an offshore wind installation vessel is one step towards creating the infrastructure needed to enable the U.S. to develop offshore wind. Our vessel is not being built for the Dominion Energy commercial project, it is actually being built for the U.S. offshore wind industry.

The hope is that a robust supply chain will be created in the United States that can support not only several gigawatts of offshore wind construction, but the potential establishment of foundation and blade manufacturing and staging in the United States. This will create the infrastructure and supply chain to make offshore wind more viable as a U.S. energy source, as well as the opportunity for new jobs where people can innovate in a new industry.

NG-16000X-SJ Fly by rendering

Your company is working together closely with Seajacks, Keppel AmFELS and GustoMSC for the development of the new Dominion jack-up vessel.
What insights can you share with us about this cooperation?
When Dominion Energy decided to take on the task of building a Jones Act compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel, we wanted to surround ourselves with industry experts with the experience and knowledge to ensure success. Seajacks is a world leader with respect to owning and operating offshore wind installation vessels, and they have provided a wealth of insight and assistance from the vessel scope, construction oversight, and lessons learned from years of working in the European and Asian markets.

GustoMSC is well respected in the offshore industry as a designer and supplier of equipment; their expertise in design is a fundamental building block of the vessel we are building. As the shipyard constructor, Keppel AmFELS in Brownsville Texas has the manpower and know-how to build this vessel as designed with the quality we expect. Keppel AmFELS has a wealth of experience building offshore drilling platforms as well as merchant vessels and their parent company has built offshore wind installation vessels in Singapore; which provides in-house expertise not found in the United States currently.

Offshore wind is a natural step forward to remain a leader in sustainable reliable energy.

Generally speaking, the energy transition has hardly started in the U.S. and Asia. Moreover, investments in renewable energy are lagging behind. Where European energy companies invest about 30% of their capital in renewable energy, the figure in the US remains at about 7%. The combination of clear direction for renewable energy by policy makers as well as strong competition in the European energy market forces European energy companies to adapt and innovate.
What led to this pioneering work in your company?
Dominion Energy is committed to achieving net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions across the 16 states in which it operates by 2050. We have invested heavily in solar generation and are piloting several battery storage projects, we are reducing our reliance on high carbon burning fuels and opting for cleaner, more efficient power producing technologies. Offshore wind is a natural step forward to remain a leader in sustainable, reliable energy. There has been a shift in the United States related to environmental consciousness. Dominion Energy believes that actions speak louder than words and we are making investments that enable our commitment to net zero emissions to become a reality.

Director - Construction Projects Power Generation Group

Karl Humberson

Karl Humberson is responsible for supervising Construction Managers, Project Managers, and Engineers. In this role, he ensures projects are constructed and delivered on time and on budget; with the required technical scope. His current role oversees the construction of the Offshore Wind Turbine Installation Vessel “Charybdis”, the Battery Energy Storage System pilot, and renewable natural gas projects. He also provides Business Development assistance and construction oversight regarding Dominion Energy’s natural gas projects; as well as, other expansion/growth opportunities.

NOV Live with Alberto Morandi

Wind Turbine Installation Vessels

On 27 January Alberto Morandi was a guest on NOV Live to talk about some of the recent news, projects, information, and more regarding wind turbine installation vessels and the US market.

NOV to design and supply equipment for first US-built, Jones Act-compliant wind turbine installation jack-up vessel Dominion Energy awards NOV with design and equipment order for GustoMSC™ NG-16000X-SJ