Posted on December 18, 2023
“In a shipyard near the southern tip of Texas, more than 1,000 workers are rushing to finish a massive vessel that embodies the promise and peril of America’s offshore wind-energy dreams.
Named after a mythical sea monster, the Charybdis will be the first vessel allowed to pick up turbine parts from U.S. ports, haul them into the ocean and construct skyscraper-sized windmills. Backers herald the project as part of a burgeoning boom in green manufacturing.
But those hopes face mounting threats. The Charybdis’s construction is running behind schedule and over budget. Developers that chartered the ship for projects off the East Coast have scrambled for a limited number of backups. And the pipeline for new vessels is running dry because shipbuilders are looking at similar projects with caution.
Such supply-chain snags, coupled with inflation and interest-rate hikes, have busted project schedules, hammered developers’ expected returns and pushed up what Americans will ultimately pay for offshore wind power. Investors and developers fear that the U.S. market is in trouble before it really gets started.”