Dominion Energy has begun construction in the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, which is expected to become an important new source of energy for Virginia customers. The company is breaking ground to install a half-mile conduit, which will hold the final stretch of cables connecting the turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach to a company substation near Camp Pendleton. Governor Ralph Northam, other elected officials and stakeholders were invited to the groundbreaking on July 1 that marked the beginning of onshore construction for the project.
The project will facilitate interconnection of two 6-MW wind turbines that will power 3,000 homes at peak. Commercial-scale offshore wind development can potentially power 500,000 homes with more than 2,000 MW of zero-carbon, renewable energy. Dominion Energy anticipates US$1.1 billion in offshore wind investments through 2023.
"These onshore construction activities are another major milestone in our plan to bring offshore wind to the Commonwealth and are a sign of our commitment to bring more renewable energy to our customers," said Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO, Thomas F. Farrell, II.
"The Virginia offshore wind demonstration project is another powerful example of the Commonwealth's position as a leader in renewable energy," said Gov. Northam. "As the first deployment of commercial-scale offshore wind turbines in federal waters, I am thrilled that Virginia's project will help determine best practices for future offshore wind construction along the East Coast."
The project was announced two years ago and is the only fully permitted offshore wind project in US federal waters. Last November, the State Corporation Commission approved the project and the majority of required permits and approvals have been received. The construction process is on a strict timetable to minimize environmental impact on 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.
While onshore construction is underway, residents and visitors may notice a barge performing construction activities approximately half a mile off the Virginia Beach coast from July through September. The turbines will not be noticeable from shore once construction is completed in 2020.
Ørsted, an experienced offshore wind developer headquartered in Denmark, has been contracted for the offshore portion of the project. The L. E. Myers Company will perform onshore construction work.