- Virginia is the first state to obtain a lease in federally administered ocean waters from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for offshore wind development.
- The completed agreement will allow Dominion Virginia Power and its partners in Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP) to proceed with a pilot 12 MW, 2 turbine installation 24 nautical miles east of Virginia Beach on the Outer Continental Shelf.
- The demonstration project, endorsed by local environmental groups, is expected to be operational by the end of 2017. It will test the viability and cost-effectiveness of a full scale Dominion project that would be built in an adjacent 113,000-acre Wind Energy Area. The utility won the rights to it in 2012 with a $1.6 million bid.
The demonstration project is expected to cost $250 million. Dominion has won a total of $51 million in federal grants to help fund it. It will generate enough electricity to power about 3,000 homes.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) wants Virginia to be an offshore wind hub as part of his all-of-the-above energy policy. The Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium said the full scale project could power 700,000 homes and create between 9,700 and 11,600 career jobs within 20 years.
There were about 7 GW of offshore wind installed globally at the end of 2014, most in Europe, where 6.6 GW were in construction and development, according to the Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis report from DOE and Navigant.
None of the 14 U.S. projects in advanced stages of development, representing 4.9 GW of wind power, have started construction. The just-announced completion of full financing for Deepwater Wind’s five turbine, 30 MW Block Island Project means it will likely be the first operating U.S. ocean wind installation, with an expected in-service date in Q4 2016.