Ørsted, hired by Dominion Energy to build the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project (CVOW), has contracted the research vessel Gerry Bordelon to conduct geophysical studies of the proposed site before construction can begin.
Dominion Energy filed with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) for approval to build the two 6-megawatt turbines and grid infrastructure needed to connect the facility to the coast.
“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.
Farrell made the announcement Friday while in Norfolk with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Thomas Brostrøm, president of Ørsted North America. In addition to the announced filing, business and government leaders toured the ocean-mapping vessel, temporarily docked at the maritime museum Nauticus.
“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. “The 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.”
“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 offshore wind project will be located about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach on 2,135 acres of federal waters leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. The two six-megawatt turbines will sit in about 80 feet of water and rise over 550 feet above the ocean’s surface – but will not be visible from the Virginia Beach shoreline. The facility is expected to begin generating emissions-free energy for customers by December 2020.
While officially a demonstration project, it would be the first constructed in federal waters through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) approval process. It will be the nation’s second commercial-scale offshore installation, following one off the coast of Block Island, RI, operational since 2015.
The project will provide critical permitting, construction and operational experience, and could pave the way for 2,000 more megawatts of carbon-free generation in the adjacent 112,000 acre wind energy lease area – enough energy to power about half a million homes.
The $300 million project will be funded through existing base rates, enabled by the Grid Transformation & Security Act. Contingent on various regulatory approvals, onshore construction would start in 2019, followed by turbine installation and operation in 2020.