- Dominion Energy Virginia has partnered with Denmark's DONG Energy to develop a 12 MW wind facility offshore Virginia Beach, known as Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind.
- Dominion is the sole owner of the project, which would also be the Mid-Atlantic's first offshore wind project in a federal lease area.
- The announcement comes about a year after Dominion let lapse a $40 million federal grant for offshore wind energy, unleashing criticism from a range of renewables supporters including Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch has the backstory on Dominion's new wind venture, noting that a year ago McAuliffe was upset that the utility had let the grant lapse.
"I worked very hard to get that $40 million federal grant, so I called the secretary of energy myself, but the decision had already been made. I was very unhappy about it," he told the paper. But this week he was on hand for the announcement that Dominion would be moving ahead with DONG Energy.
McAuliffe, in a statement, said he hopes Dominion's project will be "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."
Engineering and development work on the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is expected to begin soon, with DONG Energy working towards a 2020 completion. But Dominion said that timing for construction depends on many factors, including weather and protected species migration patterns.
The project will include two 6 MW turbines, almost 30 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Dominion says its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind initiative is the "first phase of a plan" that could bring more than 2,000 MW of wind energy to its Virginia and North Carolina customers.
The Virginia project might be the first Mid-Atlantic offshore wind project in a federal lease area, but by no means is it the first Mid-Atlantic state to invest in offshore wind. Rhode Island was the first state to boast a successful operation with the 30 MW Block Island project; Massachusetts passed legislature requiring utilities to procure 1,600 MW of offshore wind by 2027; New York's Gov Cuomo pledged to invest in 2.4 GW of offshore wind by 2030, and Maryland just approved ORECs for two offshore wind projects.