The project team and vessel crews have implemented processes to navigate the impact of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Two vessels – the M/V Sarah Bordelon and M/V Marcelle Bordelon, contracted through TerraSond – have started geophysical studies in the 112,800-acre project lease area, 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach where the 2,600 MW project will be built beginning in 2024.
These surveys will provide the company with the geological, biological and oceanographic data needed to support planning and construction in a manner that facilitates coexistence between the natural marine ecosystem and clean energy development. Ultimately, this data will support the preparation of the project’s Construction and Operations Plan to be submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) later this year.
The survey vessels will be equipped with hull mounted and towed equipment to collect geophysical data, while additional equipment will be deployed later this summer at specific locations to conduct seafloor sampling.
“Safety is our top priority, and while the coronavirus pandemic has created unique challenges, our teams have safely worked through them to keep the development of the commercial offshore wind project on track,” says Mark D. Mitchell, vice president of generation construction at Dominion Energy.
“At the same time, we are working diligently with our suppliers to develop a U.S.-based offshore wind supply chain anchored in Hampton Roads, which would establish Virginia as the leader in offshore wind in America,” he adds.
Dominion Energy is also working with wind turbine and other manufacturers to encourage them to bring the much-needed U.S.-based supply chain to Hampton Roads, spurring economic development and employment opportunities in the region, while lowering project costs.
Recognizing the importance of commercial and recreational fisheries in the region, Dominion Energy has engaged the fishing and maritime communities to coordinate CVOW’s offshore operations, address questions and obtain feedback from the fishing community.
Earlier this year, Dominion Energy and fisheries liaison officers from Sea Risk Solutions, who are supporting both the pilot and commercial projects, conducted regional outreach meetings and in-person port visits to share project updates and listen to concerns from the region’s fishermen. Recent coronavirus restrictions on travel and in-person meetings have been accommodated by the electronic distribution of updated project materials.
Construction nears on the pilot project as the components and foundations for the two 6 MW turbines to be installed later this spring were safely transported across the Atlantic Ocean by the MC-Class Bigroll Beaufort.
Photo: Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracks show shipping, fishing, anchoring and disposal near cables