APRIL 23, 2014 —Back in March the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today that it had executed its first wind energy research lease with the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). At the time all involved made optimistic noises.
"Developing our clean energy resources is an essential element of building a new Virginia economy," said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. "With this research lease, Virginia is leading the way in building wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean and taking the next step toward the clean energy economy we need to create jobs and lower energy costs now and into the future."
The pilot project was supposed to be up and running by 2017. Today, though, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports that Dominion Virginia Power is putting the brakes on erecting the project's two test wind turbines.
Dominion had estimated building two test wind turbines would cost about $230 million, but the only complete bid for the work came back at between $375 and $400 million, the newspaper reports a Dominion spokesman as saying.
Dominion and its partners are forming a new task force to look at ways to get the costs down and the timeline for getting the project operational will be pushed back to 2018, Bob Matthias, chairman of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority, is reported as saying.