Dominion’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project nearly ready for commercial operation

US largest offshore wind project
Dominion Energy has reached an agreement with the Port of Virginia for staging and assembly of its 2,600-megawatt offshore wind project -- the U.S.'s largest offshore wind project in development (Courtesy: Dominion Energy)

Dominion Energy has completed construction and testing on its 12-MW offshore wind pilot project.

The Virginia-based utility plans to put the two-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) farm into commercial operation soon. The pilot is a precursor to a planned 2,600-MW utility-scale wind project proposed for construction beginning in 2024.

“This is a monumental day for the Commonwealth and the burgeoning offshore wind industry in America as CVOW is ready to deliver clean, renewable energy to our Virginia customers,” said Joshua Bennett, Dominion Energy vice president of offshore wind. “Our team has worked diligently with key stakeholders and regulators while safely navigating through the coronavirus pandemic to complete this vitally important project that is a key step to reducing carbon emissions.”

The next significant regulatory step for CVOW is to submit the final documentation for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to complete its technical review, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The turbines will remain in operation during this review process.

The eventual commercial operation and anticipated regulatory approval could be a huge boost for the prospects of offshore wind power in the U.S. Although relatively commonplace off the European coasts, American offshore wind has not developed in scale much beyond isolated projects.

Installation of the two pilot turbines was completed in June. Ørsted served as the offshore engineering, procurement and construction lead for the pilot project. The L. E. Myers Company with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, performed the onshore construction work.

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According to an economic impact study performed by Glen Allen-based Mangum Economics and commissioned and published by the Hampton Roads Alliance, it is estimated that the CVOW commercial project could create approximately 900 jobs and $143 million in economic impact annually during construction and 1,100 jobs and almost $210 million in economic impact annually during operation of the turbines.

Similarly, during construction, the 2.6-GW CVOW commercial project is estimated to generate nearly $5 million per year in local and state tax revenue which increases to almost $11 million annually once the project is commissioned and operational.

A variety of Virginia-based companies contributed to the CVOW pilot project and Dominion Energy remains committed to positioning Hampton Roads as a supply chain hub for U.S. offshore wind efforts, the utility said in its release.

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