Dominion Energy is working diligently on plans to blow away the competition for energy innovation.
The energy company is slated to build the largest offshore wind farm in the United States. Called Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW), the project is expected to include 176 enormous wind turbines in an area 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The area, which will be 15 miles by 12 miles, will include three offshore substations.
The project, expected to be operational by the end of 2026, will harness the power of the wind to complement energy generated by the sun. The energy produced by the farm, which will be entirely clean, will create enough sustainable energy to power up to 660,000 homes at peak.
“It’s clean, affordable and reliable,” says Jerry Barnes, marine affairs manager for the project. “The kinetic energy in the wind turns a rotor, creating electricity. It’s the wave of the future.”
To put the power of the turbines into perspective, consider that each revolution of a blade can power one Virginia home for one day. Each turbine will stand 837 feet off the ground, and each turbine rotor diameter will be 728 feet.
There are currently two test turbines in place. Barnes says the data is showing that the turbines are “more effective than anticipated. They are producing more electricity than we forecasted.”
Wind captured in open waters is pure, as it is not constrained by anything nearby.
The energy will be harnessed and then taken onshore through substations and fed into the electrical grid.
The project will not only help to become a source of electrical power, it will also power the economy. During the construction phase, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is estimated to bring 900 jobs to the area. When it’s operational, it may be the source of 1,100 permanent jobs, Barnes says.
“It’s very exciting,” he says. “We are developing a new industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States.”
The cost of the project is $9.8 billion. That will be offset by $1 billion in tax credits. In the first 10 years of the project, it is anticipated there will be a savings of $3 billion in fuel costs. The savings will come as wind power displaces traditional generation of fuel expenses, such as coal and natural gas. For typical residential Dominion Energy customers, the project is expected to result in “a net average cost of $4 a month, though this figure will initially be less and will vary from year to year,” Barnes adds.
The project will also have a huge impact on the environment, Barnes says. The cleanliness of the wind energy will cut down dramatically on the amount of carbon dioxide emissions. It will be the equivalent of removing more than 1 million non-electric cars from the roads each year.
Virginia has set lofty goals for clean energy, with the objective of net zero carbon and methane emissions, meaning carbon-free energy by 2045. The CVOW project will help Virginia attain that goal.
“Offshore wind is one of the means to provide clean energy,” Barnes says. “It is the future energy portfolio.” Being part of a project that elevates Virginia into the spotlight of the energy world is rewarding and challenging.”
“We are all excited,” he says. “It’s exciting to see the energy of the workforce. Everyone believes in this project and Dominion Energy’s goals to be net zero.”
TO THE POINT:
Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind
Contact: Paula J. Miller, legislative affairs/senior communications specialist,
Dominion Energy–Eastern Region