All in all, I find the following press release from Gov. Northam’s office to be decent as far as it goes, but overall very frustrating, exasperating, etc. Why? Because, as this post by Adam Siegel explained recently, “while Dominion dilly-dallies with its pathetically small 12-megawatt project, other states are racing ahead with multi-gigawatt plans. And, associated with those plans, those states are looking at thousands, probably tens of thousands, of high-paying jobs going to ports and communities that are in their states – NOT in Virginia.” And, I’d add, this press release is frustrating and exasperating because, given the urgency of the climate crisis, we simply can’t afford Dominion’s unacceptable, glacially slow pace on offshore wind development. In short, it’s time for Gov. Northam and other leaders to demand that Dominion kick Virginia offshore wind development into a much, much higher gear than we’re seeing right now.
Commonwealth Breaks Ground on Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Demonstration Project
~ Onshore construction is the first step toward the project’s 2020 completion goal ~
VIRGINIA BEACH—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the start of construction of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) demonstration project, consisting of two six-megawatt wind turbines located approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. This is the first offshore wind project to be installed in federal waters. Dominion Energy is partnering with Ørsted, a Denmark-based energy company, to build the project on 2,135 acres leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME).
“The Virginia offshore wind demonstration project is another powerful example of the Commonwealth’s position as a leader in renewable energy,” said Governor Northam. “As the first deployment of commercial-scale offshore wind turbines in federal waters, I am thrilled that Virginia’s project will help determine best practices for future offshore wind construction along the East Coast.”
Today’s ground breaking marks the first onshore construction work on the twelve megawatt project, which will power 3,000 homes. The CVOW project will produce valuable research and development for stakeholders including the military, commercial and recreational interests, and other governmental entities. The project will also serve as a first step toward development of commercial-scale offshore wind off the coast of Virginia, including the 2,000 to 2,400 megawatts of potential generation in a larger wind energy area that is adjacent to the CVOW project.
“Offshore wind offers a number of benefits to Virginia, including providing valuable fuel diversity and serving as an important economic development opportunity,” said Commerce and Trade Secretary Brian Ball. “This demonstration project is the precursor to much larger development projects off our coast, which could bring thousands of supply chain and service industry jobs.”
“This project allows us to showcase Virginia to the offshore wind industry and will serve as a beacon to our unmatched combination of strengths in research, workforce, and port infrastructure,” said Director of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy John Warren.
Governor Northam signed the Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018, which established the state legislature’s finding that the offshore wind demonstration project is in the public interest and ensured that Dominion Energy can fund the project using existing base rates with no added cost to ratepayers.
“These onshore construction activities are another major milestone in our plan to bring offshore wind to the Commonwealth and are a sign of our commitment to bring more renewable energy to our customers,” said Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell, II.
Last August, Governor Northam announced the CVOW project and in November, Dominion Energy received approval from the State Corporation Commission to proceed with construction. The project has secured all major state and federal permits and Dominion Energy has contracted with Ørsted for the offshore portion of the project. The L. E. Myers Company will perform onshore construction work.