Almost six years after Dominion Power began researching offshore wind energy under the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Assessment Project, the power company has partnered with DONG Energy of Denmark to make the clean resource a reality.
The first phase of the project will include the construction of two six-megawatt turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Dominion had faced criticism from environmental groups after it let a $40 million federal grant for offshore wind lapse a year ago. It would be only the second offshore wind farm deployed in the United States, after the Block Island development off the coast of Maine.
They will now start refining agreements for engineering, procurement and construction of the 12MW project, of which Dominion Energy remains the sole owner. It will provide 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, which is enough to power about 500,000 homes. The company is working on wind projects off the coast of MA and New Jersey, known as Bay State Wind and Ocean Wind.
"Today marks the first step in what I expect to be the deployment of hundreds of wind turbines off Virginia's coast that will further diversify our energy production portfolio, create thousands of jobs, and reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth", said Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
DONG Energy owns 22 offshore wind farms in Europe and Asia.