Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project

by: Peter J. Goldin

Dominion Energy has worked closely with high tech firms in recent years to ensure they are able to meet their sustainability goals. Some of the largest tech companies in the world are in our Northern Virginia service area and many have made substantial commitments to reduce their environmental impacts by using clean and renewable energy.

Dominion Energy shares that commitment to sustainability and is investing in clean energy projects, such as solar, wind and energy storage. These projects are not only planned to meet the needs of our customers — large and small — they’re also the right thing to do.

A project being developed right now by Dominion Energy off Virginia’s coast will harness the power of the wind, propelling the Commonwealth further toward a clean energy future to the benefit of all Virginians.

The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project will create hundreds of jobs, attract new companies to invest in the Commonwealth, reduce emissions, and improve the environment. Offshore wind is complementary to our growth in solar since both generate peak energy at different times throughout the day and the year. During the dark of night or stretches of cloudy weather when solar is providing low or no generation, offshore wind can still provide energy to meet customer needs.

According to regulatory filings, offshore wind has an estimated capacity factor of 42 percent compared with 25 percent for solar generation. Capacity factor measures how often a power station runs for a specific period of time.   

Investing in offshore wind will not only diversify energy generation in Virginia, it will result in electric transmission upgrades that will strengthen reliability for customers throughout the Commonwealth.

CVOW delivers what the public wants and what the planet needs – energy that is reliable and sustainable.  It is a critical component to meet the Commonwealth’s objective of carbon-free energy by 2045. 

While the company develops the 2,640-megawatt CVOW commercial project, the first two turbines in U.S. federal waters are already spinning, generating clean energy for Virginians.

The Luxembourg-flagged Vole au Vent jack up vessel – a vessel that attaches four legs to the sea floor and raises up to create a stable working platform above the ocean – installed the two CVOW pilot turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach last June. During installation of the foundations, a double bubble curtain was used to mitigate underwater soundwaves generated during the installation process to protect marine wildlife.

The two 6-megawatt turbines can generate enough energy to power up to 3,000 Virginia homes, while providing key insights in development, permitting and construction, which are being leveraged on the largest offshore wind project in the Americas. When fully constructed in 2026, the CVOW commercial project will consist of approximately 188 turbines.

The Siemens Gamesa 14-megawatt turbines, which can reach approximately 15 megawatts with a power boost, to be installed on the commercial project will rise more than 800 feet above the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. These turbines will stand nearly 250 feet taller than the Washington Monument and nearly 330 feet taller than the Capital One Tower in Tyson’s Corner, the tallest building in Northern Virginia.

The 728-foot rotor diameter of the turbines is 159 feet shorter than the USS Wisconsin, one of the largest battleships in the U.S. Navy fleet. Each 354-foot blade is taller than the Statue of Liberty and the turbine sweep area is equivalent to approximately seven football fields.

Together, these state-of-the-art turbines will provide enough clean and renewable energy to power up to 660,000 Virginia homes, eliminating as much as 5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, the equivalent of planting more than 80 million trees.

CVOW will be designed and constructed safely in a manner that is fully protective of Virginia’s environment and natural resources, ensuring the coastline will remain accessible for residents and visitors alike.

The development will also provide an opportunity to build the infrastructure necessary to manufacture offshore wind farm components in Virginia, creating clean energy jobs and a domestic supply chain for the industry that will position the Commonwealth as a leader in science, technology and innovation.

Clean energy jobs in construction and operations can serve as a catalyst to re-ignite the economy following the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and to continue reducing carbon emissions. And the carbon free, renewable energy generated by the offshore turbines will displace fossil-fuel generation, benefiting residents across Virginia.

Projects like offshore wind ensure Dominion Energy will provide sustainable power for our customers across Virginia – both high-tech business customers and residential customers. For more information on the project visit coastalvawind.com.