America’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Wins Approval

Two wind turbines sit off-shore

Things just got a little breezier for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.

The 2.6 gigawatt project will become the United States’ largest offshore wind farm, now that it has received approval from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The BOEM completed the project’s environmental review on September 25 and issued its official decision on Oct. 30, making this the fifth commercial-scale offshore wind farm to be approved since the beginning of President Biden’s administration.

Two wind turbines sit off-shore in the water
Original photo courtesy of Dominion Energy / Digitally modified by Good Good Good

With this key green light, the CVOW joins the ranks of projects like Vineyard Wind 1, South Fork Wind, Ocean Wind 1, and Revolution Wind.

Owned and developed by Dominion Energy, the project will feature 176 Siemens Gamesa 14 megawatt wind turbines, three offshore substations, and a new onshore transmission infrastructure. It will be located about 27 miles off of the Virginia coast. 

Once construction is complete in 2026, CVOW will provide clean electricity for an estimated 900,000 households. It will also support thousands of jobs in the area, and will add 1,600 megawatts of renewable energy to the grid, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of the Interior

“More progress and economic opportunity are on the horizon as we put to use every tool available to bring offshore wind benefits to American workers and communities nationwide,” White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said in a statement

With the CVOW milestone, the BOEM remains on track to complete reviews of at least 16 offshore wind energy project plans by 2025, according to the Department of the Interior. 

Included in the BOEM review were findings that CVOW could have adverse impacts on fisheries, resulting in gear loss, navigational hazards, and construction work. To mitigate this, the Bureau is requiring Dominion to create a program that compensates commercial and for-hire fishermen, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Dominion is also planning to take steps to reduce underwater noise and use technology to keep whales and other protected species away from danger. 

“Receiving a favorable Record of Decision from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is a monumental achievement for Dominion Energy and the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind team,” Bob Blue, Dominion Energy's chair, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement

“More than a decade of work has gone into the development, design, and permitting of CVOW,” Blue continued.

Since 2020, the site has been home to a pilot project made of two six-megawatt wind turbines and was the first offshore wind project installed in U.S. federal waters. 

The full project is already underway, as CVOW’s first eight monopiles arrived in late October. The work of German company EEW SPC, 168 more monopiles will make their way to the site. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024.

Article Details

November 1, 2023 10:39 AM
Keith Lee; Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz; Dylan Mulvaney

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