Dominion Energy announced it has received the last two major federal approvals needed to begin construction of Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW), keeping the 2.6 GW project on track to be fully built by late 2026.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) provided its final approval of CVOW’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP), which authorizes construction offshore. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued its permit to allow for permitted impacts to U.S. waters, including the route of the electric transmission line that will connect to the electric grid onshore.
CVOW will consist of 176 turbines and three offshore substations in a nearly 113,000-acre lease area off the coast of Virginia Beach. Some onshore construction activities began in November 2023 following BOEM’s favorable Record of Decision and will quickly ramp up with these last approvals, Dominion Energy said. In addition, initial offshore construction activities related to the export cable and the monopile foundation installation are expected to begin in the second quarter of this year.
“Virginia is leading the way for offshore wind as we near the start of offshore construction for Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind,” said Bob Blue, Dominion Energy’s chair, president, and chief executive officer. “These regulatory approvals keep CVOW on time and on budget as we focus on our mission of providing customers with reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy.”
More than 750 Virginia-based workers – nearly 530 in the Hampton Roads region – have been engaged on the CVOW project or with other businesses supporting CVOW. This work includes redevelopment activities at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, construction of the offshore wind Monitoring and Coordination Center, maritime provisioning, ship upkeep, heavy lift and rigging, cyber security, food service, and hospitality. More than 1,000 local jobs will be needed to support ongoing operations and maintenance of this facility after the project begins commercial operation, Dominion Energy said.
Dominion Energy, by its account, appears to have weathered the macroeconomic headwinds that have plagued some of the first offshore wind projects in the U.S. The offshore wind industry is facing cost challenges across the board, as utilities and developers alike pay the price to pull out of agreements.
Many renewable energy sectors continued to grow in 2023, but it was a rough year for U.S. offshore wind. Just days into 2024, BP and Equinor announced the termination of Empire Wind 2.
Renewable Energy World is tracking U.S. offshore wind cancellations as they are announced – see our list of the projects that met an unfortunate fate.
Common causes of cancellations include inflation and supply chain disruptions, caused in large part by the war in Ukraine. Developers often expressed openness to continuing projects under offtake agreements, but that sentiment seldom led to survival.
If a project you love is in trouble, please drop us a line if you want to shout into the wind.