Dominion offshore wind study says ocean substations needed

Richmond, Va., March 13, 2012 — One offshore substation platform with two 230,000-volt power lines is appropriate to transmit to shore every 500-700 MW of wind-generated electricity constructed off the coast of Virginia, a study done at Dominion Virginia Power's request recommends.

The report, completed by ABB Power Systems Consulting, evaluated the offshore transmission options to support future projects and built its recommendations on the company's first study in 2010 that looked at potential on-shore interconnection options and upgrades needed to support offshore wind generation projects.

The studies complement one another as transmission lines from the four recommended offshore service platforms would likely be routed to two separate onshore interconnection points.

The report acknowledges the potential cost savings that may be achieved through construction of offshore transmission infrastructure completed in stages with a potential for standardization. The approach also limits the potential for stranded transmission investment as offshore wind farms are constructed.

The report estimated the cost for each offshore service platform, its equipment and submarine transmission cables at about $652 million.

Dominion is planning to respond to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's call for information for wind generation in about 113,000 acres of leasing areas about 24 miles off the Virginia coast. The leasing area is divided into 19 whole blocks, each 3-by-3 miles, and 13 partial ones.

Dominion has a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to work with partners and find ways to reduce the costs of offshore wind generation. The DOE estimates that offshore wind generation alone would cost about 24 cents per kWh; Dominion's residential rates today for generation, transmission and distribution services are about 11 cents per kWh.

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