Virginia State Corporation Commission Approves 2.6 GW Offshore Wind Farm

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has granted approval to Dominion Energy for its 2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, to be built some 43 kilometres off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Illustration; Dominion Energy; Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) demo project

The developer filed plans for the USD 9.8 billion offshore wind farm with the Virginia State Corporation Commission in the fourth quarter of last year.

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The final order from the Commission affirms that CVOW meets all Virginia statutory requirements for rider cost recovery and the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the onshore infrastructure.

As part of its order, the Virginia State Corporation Commission granted approval for approximately 27 kilometres of new transmission lines and other onshore infrastructure needed to deliver the clean energy generated offshore to homes and businesses across Virginia.

The order also includes a performance requirement, but does not outline the details surrounding that requirement, Dominion Energy said.

“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.

According to Dominion Energy, its 2.6 GW offshore wind farm – scheduled to come online in 2026 – will come with customer costs reduced by applicable federal tax credits and savings over the life of the project as offshore wind will have no fuel costs, which is especially beneficial considering the recent rise in fuel costs across the country.

Over the offshore wind farm’s lifetime, the net average cost of the project to a typical residential customer is estimated at approximately USD 4 per month, though this figure will initially be less and will vary from year-to-year.

Last year, after filing the plans with the Commission, Dominion Energy said the State Corporation Commission would also consider the applicable tax credits of more than USD 1 billion and expected fuel costs savings of more than USD 3 billion for the project’s first ten years.

Now, with ongoing commodity market pressure, the developer estimates that those savings could double and total up to nearly USD 6 billion, if the current market pressure trends continue.

The 2.6 GW CVOW is the commercial-scale project that is planned to be built using the knowledge and experience gained through the CVOW pilot project which brought the first two wind turbines to the US federal waters.

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The commercial-scale offshore wind farms will comprise 176 Siemens Gamesa 14 MW wind turbines, a deal that triggered some of the country’s largest supply chain investments as the wind turbine supplier last year announced it would build turbine blade factory at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.

The 2.6 GW project also saw Dominion Energy investing in the only US-flagged offshore wind turbine installation vessel.

CVOW is estimated to create approximately 900 jobs, generate USD 5 million per year in local and state tax revenue and USD 143 million in economic benefits annually during construction.

During operation, the CVOW commercial project could result in 1,100 jobs, generate USD 11 million per year in local and state tax revenue and almost USD 210 million in economic benefits annually.

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