Dominion Energy Gets Federal Approvals for Largest US Offshore Wind Farm

wind farm instalaltion
Dominion installed two pilot project wind turbines in 2020 and will now move into full construction

Published Jan 30, 2024 1:58 PM by The Maritime Executive


Dominion Energy received the last two major federal approvals needed to begin construction of its 2.6-gigawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) to be located offshore near Virginia Beach. The largest offshore wind farm so far in the United States, it will now move into construction and is expected to be completed by late 2026.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) provided its final approval of CVOW's Construction and Operations Plan (COP), which authorizes construction offshore. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also issued its permit to allow for permitted impacts to U.S. waters, including the route of the electric transmission line that will connect the clean, renewable energy generated offshore to the electric grid onshore.

"Virginia is leading the way for offshore wind as we near the start of offshore construction for Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind," said Bob Blue, Dominion Energy's chair, president, and chief executive officer. "These regulatory approvals keep CVOW on time and on budget as we focus on our mission of providing customers with reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy."

CVOW will consist of 176 turbines and three offshore substations in a nearly 113,000-acre lease area off the coast of Virginia Beach. As a regulated utility, Dominion Energy has not faced the same financial challenges as commercial developers. CVOW is proceeding while Ørsted for example has canceled a larger two-phase project planned for the New Jersey coastline and another project in Maryland. Other commercial developers have also sidelined projects in New York State and Massachusetts as they look to rebid their power purchase agreements to reflect the impact of inflation, rising interest rates, and supply chain challenges.

"In an important step forward, we are thrilled to see the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project receive two major approvals that will place the nation's largest offshore wind farm right off the coast of Virginia," Senator Mark Warner, Senator Tim Kaine, and Representative Bobby Scott said in a joint statement.

Some onshore construction activities began in Virginia in November 2023 following BOEM's favorable Record of Decision for CVOW. The company reports that construction will quickly ramp up with these last approvals. In addition, initial offshore construction activities related to the export cable and the monopile foundation installation are expected to begin in the second quarter of this year.

Staging for the eventual construction of the wind farm began last October with the arrival of the first monopiles at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal. DEME has been contracted for the installation of the monopolies when the project reaches that stage.

Dominion Energy in 2020 completed the installation of two 12 ME turbines as a pilot project 27 miles off Virginia Beach. They were the first commercial wind turbines installed in U.S. federal waters.