The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has signaled its approval of the 2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project with a record of decision that enables development to begin at scale.
“The Biden-Harris administration just greenlit construction of the nation’s fifth massive-scale offshore wind project, growing a new American industry, lowering energy costs, creating good-paying jobs and tackling the climate crisis,” says White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “More progress and economic opportunity are on the horizon as we put to use every tool available to bring offshore wind benefits to American workers and communities nationwide.”
After considering the analysis and alternatives in the final environmental impact statement (EIS), including public comments on the draft EIS, BOEM has approved a combination of Alternative B and Alternative D-1, which includes up to 176 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 14.7 MW.
This combination will reduce impacts to navigation and a known fish haven, allow for ocean co-use, and meet the energy needs of Virginia. Feedback was gathered through nation-to-nation consultations with Tribes, input from federal, state and local agencies, and from public meetings and comments in analyzing the project’s potential environmental impacts and developing possible alternatives and mitigation measures.
The record of decision includes measures aimed at avoiding, minimizing and mitigating the potential impacts that may result from the construction and operation of the project. Among those measures, Dominion Energy has committed to establishing fishery mitigation funds to compensate recreational and commercial fisheries for any losses directly arising from the project.
Dominion Energy has also committed to measures, including vessel speed restrictions and construction clearance zones, to reduce the potential for impacts to protected species, such as marine mammals, sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon.
Located approximately 23.5 nautical miles offshore Virginia Beach, CVOW is the largest offshore wind project to receive federal approval to date.
Last week, the first eight monopile foundations for the project arrived in Portsmouth, Va. The foundations will be staged at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal until construction begins next spring.