Dominion Energy has begun work on its first offshore wind turbine project off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is considered a demonstration project and, if successfully completed, includes just two 6-megawatt wind turbines that will be constructed in U.S. federal waters, which Dominion is leasing from the government.
The turbines will be almost 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission reluctantly approved the project last fall, calling it expensive, risky and unneeded.
This week, Dominion Energy broke ground to install a half-mile conduit that will hold the final stretch of cables connecting the turbines to a substation near Camp Pendleton.
While the initial project is small, Dominion has much larger wind goals, saying it anticipates $1.1 billion in offshore wind investments through 2023. It also says future commercial scale offshore wind development could have the potential to power 500,000 homes.
“As the first deployment of commercial-scale offshore wind turbines in federal waters, I am thrilled that Virginia’s project will help determine best practices for future offshore wind construction along the East Coast,” said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who attended the project’s July 1 groundbreaking.
While work on the offshore turbines progresses, Virginia Beach visitors may see a barge about a half mile off the beach performing construction activities through September.
Dominion says the turbines will not be noticeable from shore when construction is completed in 2020.
For the turbine project, Dominion Energy has partnered with Denmark-based offshore wind developer Orsted.