If you rewind just 10 years, wind power projects of several hundred megawatts seemed like very large ones. Today, when you see one that is multiple times larger, you might want to celebrate — provided you have been following clean, renewable energy for a while and appreciate how impactful these projects are, such as Virginia’s recently announced 2,600 MW offshore wind power installation. When there is adequate wind, the new offshore wind farm will generate enough electricity to power at least 600,000 homes in Virginia. This is a huge number of homes. For context, Virginia has about 8.6 million people. Installing all the wind turbines, connecting them, and managing them will also create local jobs.
Mangum Economics conducted an economic impact analysis and found the following: 900 direct and indirect jobs could be created in Virginia during each year of the installation phase. The pay and benefits associated with them is an estimated $57 million dollars. When the huge wind farm is finished, another 1,100 jobs could be created, generating $82 million dollars in pay and benefits. Another 300 million dollars in economic benefits is possible as well.
Tina Casey’s previous CleanTechnica article goes into depth and detail about the wind project here. This interview is a follow-up for perspective.
Dan Taylor, the BlueGreen Alliance’s Appalachian Regional Field Organizer, answered some questions about the project for CleanTechnica.
What was the approval process?
As a regulated utility state, and according to the 2020 Virginia Clean Energy Economy Act, the project developer (who is also the electric utility) Dominion Energy recently had to get approval through the Virginia State Corporation Commission for the project. This approval was granted last Friday, August 5th 2022.
When will the project begin?
Construction of the CVOW project is expected to begin in 2024 once the federal regulator, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issues a record of decision (ROD) on the Construction and Operations Plan (COP). The ROD certifies that the COP is in compliance with federal statutes.
(See for example the ROD on the Vineyard Wind Project). Dominion Energy filed its COP with BOEM in 2020 and in July 2021 BOEM announced a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and solicited comment on the scope of that EIS which will likely be released the end of this year, initiating another comment period. Construction is set to begin this fall at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, which will support staging of components and construction vessels for the project.
How much will the project cost?
This is slated to be a $9.8 billion project.
Who is paying for it?
Dominion Energy, as a regulated utility, will seek recovery from Virginia ratepayers through the State Corporation Commission for the cost of the project.
When will it be finished?
The project is slated to be finished by 2027.
Where will the turbines be located?
Approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.
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