Virginia is about the get the biggest wind farm in the U.S. The state has just agreed to let Dominion Energy build a 176-turbine wind farm 27 miles off Virginia Beach’s coast.
By 2026, the project plans to be generating sufficient power to provide for the needs of up to 660,000 homes. “Our customers expect reliable, affordable energy, and offshore wind is key for delivering on that mission. We are very pleased that the commission has approved this important project that will benefit our customers. We are reviewing the specifics of the order, particularly the performance requirement,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy Chair, President and CEO.
The project, called Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind, will cost about $9.8 billion. Dominion estimates that it will save Virginia customers $3 billion during its first decade of operations. But if the prices of commodities continue to spike, this figure could nearly double, according to Dominion.
The first phase of two test turbines that generate twelve megawatts of power launched in late 2020. It’s currently one of only two offshore wind farms operating in the U.S. Virginia Beach residents can expect a lot of action as the wind farm is built out. New onshore infrastructure could include seventeen miles of transmission lines to deliver energy to Virginia businesses and houses.
The Sierra Club intervened in earlier proceedings to make sure that Dominion complied with the Virginia Clean Economy Act’s requirement which addresses equitable hiring practices. This led to Dominion’s stated goal of reaching 40% diverse workforce representation by the close of 2026.
“CVOW represents a number of firsts. It will be the largest wind farm in the U.S., it will be the first utility-owned facility in the nation, and most importantly, it will be the first project with diversity hiring requirements,” said Eileen Woll, offshore energy program director at Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, in a statement. “The project not only provides over 2600 megawatts of clean energy — enough to power over 650,000 homes — but its industry is a huge jobs generator. These are wealth-building jobs that can lift many Virginians from poverty.”
Lead image via Pixabay