By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy wins approvals for first offshore wind project on the Virginia coast

Energize Weekly, October 23, 2019

Dominion Energy has received approvals from federal regulators for the design and installation of its 12-megawatt (MW) Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) development, making it the first U.S. project to receive these permits.

The project is being developed in cooperation with Ørsted, Denmark’s largest energy company. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is building the project’s turbines.

“This is a significant milestone as we move forward on building the first-ever fully permitted offshore wind project in federal waters,” Mark D. Mitchell, Dominion Energy’s vice president of generation construction, said in a statement. “This process will provide key learnings we can apply to our commercial-scale offshore wind project.”

The project will consist of two 6-MW turbines in an area leased from the federal government by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The turbines will not be visible from shore.

In September 2019, Dominion Energy announced plans to build three 880-MW wind farms in the same 2,135-acre site. This would be the nation’s largest offshore wind project. The utility will be able to use some of the survey data collected and used in the Coastal Virginia project for the larger wind installations.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) made a “no objection determination” on Dominion’s Facility Design Report (FDR), which details all the major components of the project, and the Facility Installation Report (FIP), which described the fabrication and installation proposal.

“The FDR/FIR no objection determination is the latest milestone in a list of firsts for the burgeoning offshore wind industry in the U.S. to come through the CVOW project,” Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, said in a statement.

The BOEM decision clears the way for offshore construction, which is on track for the summer of 2020.

“The construction process is on a strict timetable, in order to minimize environmental impacts to the sea bottom and aquatic life,” Dominion Energy said in a statement. “Observers will be present during the offshore construction activities to look for protected species in the area. If those species are located within an exclusion zone, work will be stopped.”

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