As part of its ongoing commitment to bring cleaner energy to its customers, Dominion Energy Virginia is moving forward on the mid-Atlantic's first offshore wind power project in a federal lease area. It has signed an agreement and strategic partnership with DONG Energy of Denmark, a global leader in offshore wind development, to build two 6-megawatt turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach. The two companies will now begin refining agreements for engineering, procurement and construction. Dominion Energy remains the sole owner of the project.
Engineering and development work on the newly named Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is expected to begin immediately by DONG Energy to support the targeted installation by the end of 2020. The timing for construction depends on many factors such as weather and protected species migration patterns.
The project is an important first step toward offshore wind development for Virginia and the United States. It would be only the second offshore wind project in the nation and the first owned by an electric utility company. Along with clean energy, it will provide Dominion Energy with valuable experience in managing offshore wind resources.
This phase one development of two wind turbines will be built approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach on a 2,135-acre site leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. The project opens the door to long-term commercial wind development. It will provide critical operational, weather and environmental experience needed for large-scale development in the adjacent 112,800-acre site leased by Dominion Energy from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Full deployment could generate up to 2,000 megawatts of energy – enough to power half a million homes.
The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding which gives DONG Energy exclusive rights to discuss a strategic partnership with Dominion Energy about developing the commercial site based on successful deployment of the initial test turbines.
DONG Energy, based in Denmark with North American headquarters in Boston, owns 22 offshore wind farms in Europe and Asia. DONG Energy brings to the project significant experience in engineering, manufacturing, construction and supply chain management.
The project continues what previously was called the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Assessment Project (VOWTAP). Dominion Energy began work on the project in 2011 as part of a Department of Energy grant to develop and test new wind technologies that could lower the cost and withstand hurricanes. During that time key achievements were made to advance the project including: Approval of the Research Activities Plan by BOEM and environmental studies, which included avian and bat surveys, as well as assessments of ocean currents, archeological conditions, and whale migration patterns.