The Bulletin

Dominion files for approval of offshore wind pilot project

By: - August 3, 2018 3:08 pm

Dominion Energy has filed an application with the State Corporation Commission for approval of a long-anticipated pilot offshore wind project.

The company, which announced last summer that it would move forward with the project after letting a $40 million federal grant for offshore wind lapse the year before, seeks permission to build a two 6-megawatt turbines about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, along with related generation and distribution infrastructure.

The site for the project, the first of its kind in Virginia waters, is on 2,135 acres leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Dominion has contracted with Orsted, formerly DONG Energy, which owns 22 offshore wind farms in Europe and Asia, to build the demonstration turbines.

The pilot project aims to gain experience “in permitting, design, installation and operations that will directly inform the
evaluation and deployment of a much larger commercial wind project in the future,” the filing says.

“The announcement today represents a significant step toward harnessing Virginia’s offshore wind energy resource and the many important economic benefits that this industry will bring to our commonwealth,” said Gov. Ralph Northam in a statement. “This offshore wind demonstration project will provide critical information to stakeholders and will position Virginia as a leader as we work to attract job opportunities in the offshore wind supply chain and service industries.”

The turbines are expected to begin operation in 2020. The total cost is estimated at $300 million. Dominion says it will recover the cost of the project through its base rates, though, “if necessary,” it  may designate the costs to offset excess profits in future rate reviews, a framework approved by the General Assembly this year in a sweeping utility overhaul that was favorable to the energy giant.

“Today’s announcement further affirms our commitment to a new era of clean, renewable energy for the Commonwealth,” said Thomas F. Farrell, II, Dominion Energy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We are truly excited to bring offshore wind to Virginians for the first time.”

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Robert Zullo
Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers and was previously editor of the Virginia Mercury. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Contact him at [email protected]