By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy plans a $7.8 billion wind farm, largest in the U.S., on the Virginia coast

Energize Weekly, October 2, 2019

Dominion Energy is proposing to build the largest offshore wind farm in the U.S. – a $7.8 billion, 2,600-megawatt (MW) project – off the Virginia coast.

The utility has already filed an application with PJM Interconnection, the regional grid that covers all or parts of 13 mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, for a link to the wind project.

“Offshore wind is an excellent renewable energy source and this filing with PJM shows how serious we are about bringing commercial-scale offshore wind to Virginia, giving our customers what they have asked for – more renewable energy,” Mark Mitchell, Dominion Energy vice president of generation construction, said in a statement.

“Governor Ralph Northam has made it clear Virginia is committed to leading the way in offshore wind,” Mitchell said.

On Sept. 24, Northam issued an executive order aimed at achieving 30 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050.

In response to the Dominion Energy announcement, Northam issued a statement saying he would “commit that the Commonwealth will have the necessary legislative and public policy support for realizing our full potential in offshore wind … We want to get there sooner than later.”

The proposed wind farm would be developed in three phases, each composed of 880 MW of generating capacity, with the first phase built out in 2024. That would be followed by sections coming online in 2025 and 2026.

The 2,640 MW of turbines, at peak wind, would provide enough electricity to power 650,000 homes, the company said.

The wind farm would be built in the 112,800-acre area 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast Dominion Energy is leasing from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Following the filing with PJM, ocean survey work is expected to begin in 2020 and a Construction and Operations Plan to be submitted in 2022, the company said.

Dominion has a goal of a 55 percent reduction in its carbon emissions by 2030 with investments in solar and wind generation “partnered with zero-carbon nuclear and low-carbon natural gas,” the company said.

The utility said it is also planning for investment in battery storage and pumped hydroelectric storage.

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