US utility Dominion Energy has started preparatory work on a project to build a two-turbine demonstrator off the coast of Virginia Beach
US utility Dominion Energy has started preparatory work on a long-planned project to build a two-turbine demonstrator off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The project is significant because it is the first offshore wind project in US federal waters. Virginia’s State Corporation Commission approved a petition to build the 12-MW offshore wind energy demonstrator in November 2018.
The company broke ground on 1 July 2019 to install a conduit that will hold the cables connecting the turbines, which will be installed 43 km off the coast of Virginia Beach, to a substation near Camp Pendleton.
Governor Ralph Northam, elected officials and stakeholders were invited to the ground-breaking to mark the beginning of onshore construction activities for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project.
The windfarm will comprise two 6-MW wind turbines and is part of a broader effort to deliver renewable energy to the region. In the long-term, Dominion Energy anticipates US$1.1Bn in offshore wind investments through 2023.
Dominion Energy chairman, president and chief executive Thomas Farrell II said, “Onshore construction activity is another major milestone in our plan to bring offshore wind to the Commonwealth and a sign of our commitment to bring more renewable energy to our customers.”
The project was announced two years ago and is the only fully permitted offshore wind project in federal waters. The construction process is on a strict timetable, in order to minimise 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.
Ørsted was contracted for the offshore portion of the project. L E Myers Company will undertake onshore construction work. 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.
In December 2018, Seaway Offshore Cables, in combination with Subsea 7, was awarded a contract by Ørsted Wind Power North America to supply and install the array cables for the CVOW project.
Dominion Energy said the project is due to be completed in 2020 with the turbines operational by December 2020.