Dominion, Ørsted Make Headway On Virginia Offshore Wind

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Dominion Energy Virginia and Denmark-based Ørsted (formerly DONG Energy) have announced “significant steps forward” in the development of what would be Virginia’s first offshore wind project.

Dominion Energy has filed with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission for approval to build the two 6 MW turbines and grid infrastructure needed to connect the facility to the coast. Ørsted, hired by Dominion Energy to build the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, has announced that a research vessel will conduct the final ocean floor mapping needed before construction can begin.

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 turbines will sit in about 80 feet of water and rise over 550 feet above the ocean’s surface, but they will not be visible from the Virginia Beach shoreline.

Though officially a demonstration project, it would be the first constructed in federal waters through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) approval process, according to the partners. 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.

“Today’s announcement further affirms our commitment to a new era of clean, renewable energy for the commonwealth,” comments Thomas F. Farrell, II, Dominion Energy’s chairman, president and CEO. “We are truly excited to bring offshore wind to Virginians for the first time.”

Farrell made the announcement on 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 stakeholders toured the ocean-mapping vessel, temporarily docked at the maritime museum Nauticus.

“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,” says Northam.

Ørsted has more than 1,000 offshore wind turbines operating around the world.

“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,” notes Brostrøm. “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.”

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