Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Dominion Energy is filing for State Corporation Commission approval to proceed with construction of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind demonstration project.
Dominion Energy is partnering with Ørsted, a Denmark-based energy company, to build the demonstration project, consisting of two six-megawatt wind turbines located approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.
Ørsted has contracted the research vessel Gerry Bordelon to conduct geophysical studies of the proposed site for the project’s two turbines, searching for obstructions on the sea floor that could potentially impede construction activities. In addition to the announced filing, Governor Northam toured the ocean-mapping vessel, which is temporarily docked at the maritime museum Nauticus, with business and government leaders.
“The announcement today represents a significant step toward harnessing Virginia’s offshore wind energy resource and the many important economic benefits that this industry will bring to our Commonwealth,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “This offshore wind demonstration project will provide critical information to stakeholders and will position Virginia as a leader as we work to attract job opportunities in the offshore wind supply chain and service industries.”
This project would be the first wind energy construction project in Virginia waters, located on 2,135 acres leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). DMME has the only research lease for offshore renewable energy awarded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
“Today’s announcement further affirms our commitment to a new era of clean, renewable energy for the Commonwealth,” said Thomas F. Farrell, II, Dominion Energy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We are truly excited to bring offshore wind to Virginians for the first time.”
This research and development project will provide experience in permitting, design, installation, and operations that may be helpful for stakeholders including the military, commercial and recreational interests, and other governmental entities. The information will be directly applicable to future commercial scale development and will help create the expertise that will ultimately lower energy costs. The facility is expected to start generating emissions-free energy by 2020.
“Ørsted is the energy supplier in Europe that has come the farthest in the transition to renewable energy, and we are excited to bring our expertise to Virginia,” said Thomas Brostrøm, Ørsted’s North American President. “This project will provide us vital experience in constructing an offshore wind project in the United States and serve as a stepping stone to a larger commercial-scale partnership between our companies in the future. We see the tremendous potential in the Mid-Atlantic for emission-free, renewable wind generation and we are excited to help the Commonwealth in reaping the benefits of wind power.”
The Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018, which Governor Northam signed in March, established the state legislature’s finding that the offshore wind demonstration project is in the public interest and ensured that Dominion Energy can fund the project using existing base rates with no added cost to ratepayers. Dominion Energy committed to have at least 3,000 megawatts of new solar and wind resources under development or in operation by the beginning of 2022.
“This project represents important initial steps toward a new era in U.S. power generation,” said John Warren, Director of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. “We are proud to have a role in helping inform the offshore wind industry in this critical early-development phase.”