First offshore wind farm in federal waters inches closer

Ørsted will built the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project. It recently opened the Walney Extension in the Irish Sea Ørsted will built the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project. It recently opened the Walney Extension in the Irish Sea

SEPTEMBER 23, 2018 — What could be the first offshore wind farm in federal waters took a major step forward last month when Dominion Energy applied to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for approval to build two 6 MW wind turbines and the project’s grid infrastructure.

Called the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project (CVOW), it would 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 6 MW turbines will sit in about 80 feet of water and generate wind energy for customers starting in December 2020.

Denmark’s Ørsted has been hired by Dominion Energy to build CVOW. Just this past Sept. 6, Ørsted opened the Walney Extension, the world’s largest offshore wind farm with 87 wind turbines generating potentially 659 MW of power in the Irish Sea.

A demonstration project, CVOW would be the second offshore wind farm in the U.S., following the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, which began operating in 2015. More importantly perhaps is that CVOW will be the first offshore wind farm to go through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) approval process.

The project will provide permitting, construction and operational experience, and could lead to 2,000 more MW of wind energy in the adjacent 112,000 acre wind energy lease area.

Addressing delegates at Offshore Wind at the Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit in Norfolk on Sept. 21, Liz Burdock, President & CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind (photo inset, at right), emphasized the valuable role that CVOW will play in the future of offshore wind development.Burdock

“This project will provide the local supply chain experience, help government understand how regulations may or may not impact developments resulting in changes in regulatory process and coordination and communication between agencies, and demonstrate new technologies, including gaining valuable real world data on how turbines withstand hurricanes.”

The $300 million project will be funded through existing base rates, enabled by the state’s Grid Transformation & Security Act. Contingent on various regulatory approvals, onshore construction would start in 2019, followed by turbine installation and operation in 2020.

“A new report released by BVG Associates shows that Virginia’s key decision makers can help position this state as a national leader in the growing U.S. offshore wind industry during the next decade,” said Burke. “The Vision for Virginia Offshore Wind report points to the Commonwealth’s unique infrastructure and geographical advantages as keys to developing 2 GW of offshore wind – enough to power 500,000 homes – by 2028.”

She pointed out that the report comes on the heels of recent legislation setting a statewide goal of building 5 GW of renewable energy by 2028. Two of the 5 GW “needs to be carved out for OSW,” said Burke.

“Scale is key! It helps reduce cost driver and attracts industry investment,” she added.

 

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