Dominion Virginia Power says it will seek a second round of bids to build the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP), a two-turbine pilot project off the coast of Virginia.
VOWTAP is a partnership between utility company Dominion Virginia Power and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. The partners propose to build two Alstom 6 MW direct-drive wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, adjacent to the Virginia commercial lease area that Dominion won in a 2013 federal auction.
The company initially estimated that the project would cost approximately $230 million. In 2014, Dominion put out a request for proposals for an engineering, procurement and construction provider to build the project. However, after receiving only one construction bid for nearly twice the amount, key stakeholders of the pilot project decided to ease the pace of development and study how to further reduce project costs.
According to Dominion, a stakeholder group recently met to discuss and review plans and decided to send out a second round of construction bids. Dominion will issue another bid proposal in the first quarter of 2016 designed to determine if the turbines can be built at a lower cost. An earlier bid proposal was rejected by Dominion for being too expensive – nearly double the projected cost of $230 million.
Based on the recommendations of the stakeholder group, the new approach would seek ‘multidisciplinary’ bids from a number of companies, with each specialty company performing only its portion of the work. In the first proposal, companies submitted bids for the entire project.
‘We continue to be committed to this project and finding ways to make it more cost-effective while demonstrating the necessary technical feasibility,’ says Mary Doswell, senior vice president of Dominion Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of Dominion Virginia Power, in a statement. ‘Working with the stakeholder group, this new bid approach was developed, and we hope it will produce the kind of proposals required to pursue this project while maintaining an acceptable risk profile for all stakeholders.’
VOWTAP was one of three projects to receive $46.7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's effort to move forward on innovative offshore wind technologies.