Dominion Energy has formally begun construction on the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind demonstration project.
The company has broken ground on installing a half-mile conduit, which will hold the final stretch of cables connecting two 6 MW turbines located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach to a company substation near Camp Pendleton.
Dominion is partnering with Ørsted to build the 12 MW project on 2,135 acres leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). Ørsted has been contracted for the offshore portion of the project, and the L. E. Myers Co. will perform onshore construction work.
The pair of turbines will power 3,000 homes at peak. The project will also provide offshore wind research and development opportunities for stakeholders including the military, commercial and recreational interests, and other governmental entities.
“This project allows us to showcase Virginia to the offshore wind industry and will serve as a beacon to our unmatched combination of strengths in research, workforce and port infrastructure,” comments John Warren, DMME director.
Last November, the State Corporation Commission approved the project, and the majority of required permits and approvals have been received, says Dominion. The construction process is on a strict timetable in order to minimize environmental impacts to the sea bottom and aquatic life. Observers will be present during the offshore construction activities to look for protected species in the area; if protected species are located within an exclusion zone, work will be stopped.
The turbines will not be noticeable from shore once construction is completed in 2020. Further, according to Dominion, customers will see no increase in rates for the pilot project under the provisions of the Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018, as the project will be recovered in existing base rates, rather than a rider.
“These onshore construction activities are another major milestone in our plan to bring offshore wind to the commonwealth and are a sign of our commitment to bring more renewable energy to our customers,” says Thomas F. Farrell, II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Energy.