Friday will mark an important milestone for Dominion Energy Inc.’s wind energy plans, as the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management begins its two-year permitting and environmental review of the 2.6-gigawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. That’s the next step before construction begins in 2024, Dominion said in a news release.
Gov. Ralph Northam and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine joined U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in Norfolk on Thursday to announce the BOEM’s plan to publish the Notice of Intent in Friday’s federal record, which opens a 30-day public comment period and the bureau’s environmental review of the CVOW project 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, which will be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm.
At completion, the $7.8 billion project will have 180 to 190 wind turbines and power up to 660,000 homes during peak winds. Construction is scheduled to be finished by 2026, and Thursday’s announcement keeps the timeline in place.
“The Notice of Intent marks an important regulatory milestone and ensures CVOW remains on schedule to complete construction in 2026, so we can deliver clean, renewable offshore wind energy to Dominion Energy Virginia customers,” Dominion Energy Chair, President and CEO Robert M. Blue said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with our federal regulators and the public as we move forward with the environmental review process.”
Two 600-foot turbines, which generate 12 megawatts of energy, were completed in June 2020 as a pilot project on 112,800 acres leased from the BOEM, which Dominion acquired rights to in 2013.
“The demand for offshore wind energy has never been greater. Meanwhile, recent technological advances, falling costs, and tremendous economic potential make offshore wind a promising avenue for diversifying our national energy portfolio, creating good-paying union jobs and tackling climate change,” Haaland said in a statement after a tour of the Port of Virginia. “Today’s tour and meetings were a great chance to learn about the commonwealth’s continued leadership role in developing the offshore wind industry and attracting and supporting the domestic supply chain.”
Northam has set a goal for Virginia to generate 5.2 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2034, and the industry is expected to create nearly 80,000 jobs nationwide by 2030 — a piece of the energy pie Virginia and other states are striving for.
Earlier this year, the newly created Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance in Virginia began training students to become technicians, inspectors and hold other positions in the burgeoning industry. Dominion anticipates the CVOW commercial project will generate about $5 million per year in local and state tax revenue during construction, an amount expected to rise to nearly $11 million annually once the project is in operation. Additional focus is on turning the Hampton Roads region and other areas of Virginia into part of a U.S. supply chain for the industry, which is currently reliant on European companies that have been global leaders in wind energy.
“Virginia is all in on offshore wind. We are developing the infrastructure, workforce, supply chain, and manufacturing capabilities needed to capture the many benefits of this emerging industry,” Northam said in a statement. “This announcement puts our commonwealth on a path to harnessing the power of wind to produce affordable and reliable renewable energy, create thousands of new jobs, and meet our ambitious climate goals. We are grateful for the federal government’s partnership as we work to advance our clean energy future with this large-scale commercial wind project along Virginia’s coast.”