Dominion Energy‘s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) commercial project has reached a major regulatory milestone: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed its environmental analysis of the 2.6 GW project planned off the Virginia Beach coast.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) reflects feedback from tribal nations, ocean users, local communities, the offshore wind industry and other interested stakeholders, and analyzes potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures associated with CVOW’s construction. The Notice of Availability for the final EIS will publish in the Federal Register on Friday, September 29.
“The completion of CVOW’s environmental review is another significant milestone to keep the project on time and on budget. Regulated offshore wind has many benefits for our customers and local economies – it’s fuel-free, emissions-free and diversifies our fuel mix to maintain the reliability of the grid,” says Bob Blue, Dominion Energy’s chair, president and CEO.
As the largest offshore wind project under development in the United States, CVOW will produce enough carbon-free electricity for 660,000 Virginia homes and generate expected fuel savings of more than $3 billion for customers during the project’s first 10 years of operation.
The EIS reflects public comments as well as extensive studies, evaluations and designs to maximize CVOW’s environmental benefits and minimize potential impacts. This includes actions taken offshore to minimize impacts to marine life, such as North Atlantic right whales, and actions taken onshore to design and build a transmission route that avoids impacts to natural and cultural resources and environmental justice communities to the maximum extent possible.
Dominion Energy is proposing to construct 176 14.7 MW wind turbines and three offshore substations in a 112,800-acre commercial lease area located 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast.
Offshore wind’s economic development and jobs benefits are transformative for the Hampton Roads region and the Commonwealth, including diverse communities. CVOW is expected to create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs during construction and more than a thousand during operations, while attracting companies to make investments to make Virginia a hub for offshore wind development and support.
There are more than 750 Virginia-based workers – nearly 530 in Hampton Roads – currently engaged on the CVOW project or with other businesses supporting CVOW and future offshore wind development, including redevelopment work at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, construction of the offshore wind Monitoring and Coordination Center, maritime provisioning, ship repairs, divers, heavy lift and rigging, cyber security, food service and hospitality.
“Dominion’s CVOW project is anchoring a critical corner of the emerging domestic supply chain,” says John Begala, vice president for federal and state policy at the Business Network for Offshore Wind, in a statement celebrating BOEM’s . “Advancing this project means supporting development of America’s first wind turbine installation vessel, the siting of a blade assembly factory and substantial port redevelopment work. The Hampton Roads area is abuzz with offshore wind activity.”