Offshore wind turbine installation vessel
Charybdis will be the first offshore wind turbine installation vessel in the United States and one of the largest vessels of its kind in the world.

Renewable energy solutions

In line with Keppel’s Vision 2030 which puts sustainability at the core of the Group’s strategy, business units have seized opportunities in renewable energy such as solar and offshore wind. 

Solar energy 

Committed to pursuing opportunities as a developer and operator of renewable energy infrastructure, Keppel Renewable Energy (KRE) on 22 December 2020 signed an agreement1 to acquire a 45% stake in Harlin Solar Pty Ltd (Harlin Solar) to develop a large-scale, greenfield solar farm in Queensland, Australia. This is KRE’s first solar farm project. 

KRE’s partners in Harlin Solar are Mr Anthony Youssef, a veteran developer in Queensland, Australia, as well as New Energy Development, an Australian Renewable Energy company. The acquisition is subject to approval by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. 

KRE will acquire the 45% stake for a nominal sum of AUD$540 (approximately $545). In addition, it will provide a loan of up to AUD$3.24 million (approximately $3.28 million) to Harlin Solar for funding development costs of the project. Upon reaching certain agreed development milestones, Keppel has options to acquire all the remaining stakes in Harlin solar for an aggregate maximum consideration of AUD$52.35 million (approximately $53.01 million). 

KRE will take the lead role in the development and management of the construction and operation of the solar farm. This includes undertaking the grid connection studies, assessing the site and technology requirements, sourcing for off-takers as well as project management of the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) of the solar farm. 

The project will be located on a more than 2,000-ha site. To maximise energy yield, KRE intends to employ the most modern solar module technology such as bifacial panels as well as adopt single axis trackers, which will enable the panels to follow the path of the sun. 

Expected to have a capacity of at least 500 MW, the project will generate enough energy to power more than 142,000 average Australian homes. This would mean a saving of some 800 kilotonnes of carbon emissions per year as compared to the power generated for the current Queensland energy grid. 

Construction of the solar farm is projected to commence in 2022 and be completed in 2023. When operationally ready, the solar farm will be connected to the national energy market (NEM) for public consumption and will also provide renewable energy through the NEM to businesses seeking sustainable energy solutions, including Keppel-related companies in Australia.  

Offshore wind 

As part of its efforts in pivoting to provide solutions in renewables, Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) in October 2020 secured a contract worth about $600 million with Dominion Energy Inc., a United States energy company, for the engineering, procurement and construction of a Wind Turbine Installation Vessel (WTIV). 

The vessel is being built by Keppel O&M’s shipyard in the U.S., Keppel AmFELS, and will be Jones Act compliant. Scheduled for delivery in 2023, it will be available for charter hire to offshore wind developers, in support of several U.S. wind projects. The vessel is expected to be fully utilised on U.S. East Coast projects exceeding 5 gigawatts of U.S. offshore wind construction through to 2027. 

The vessel’s hull will have a length of 472 feet, a width of 184 feet and a depth of 38 feet, making it one of the biggest offshore wind installation vessels in the world. Its features include a main crane with a boom length of 426 feet and an expected lifting capacity of 2,200 tonnes. The WTIV will have accommodations for up to 119 people. The vessel is designed to handle current turbine technologies as well as next generation turbine sizes of 12 megawatts or larger and will also be capable of the installation of foundations for turbines and other heavy lifts. 

Mr Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy’s President and CEO said, “Dominion Energy is proud to be leading a consortium of respected industry participants in the construction of the first Jones Act compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel, which will provide significant American jobs, and provide a reliable, home-grown installation solution with the capacity to handle the next generation of large-scale, highly-efficient turbine technologies. This will better enable the offshore wind industry to bring clean, renewable energy to customers in the U.S. We chose Keppel AmFELS to build the vessel as they provided an efficient, economical and versatile solution, backed by a reputation for delivering high quality vessels safely and reliably.” 

Work on the vessel, which will be named Charybdis, has commenced. A keel laying ceremony - where steel is laid to form the first part of the keel - was held on 16 December 2020 at Keppel AMFELS’ yard in Brownsville, Texas, marking the start of a major construction milestone