PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Two wind turbines will be constructed off the coast of Virginia Beach, Dominion Energy announced Monday. That makes the Commonwealth the first Mid-Atlantic state to have an offshore wind farm off its coast, and Dominion will become the first company in the Mid-Atlantic to harness the power of offshore wind.
Dominion says it has signed a deal with Denmark-based DONG Energy to build the two turbines will be 24 nautical miles — or 27 land miles — from Camp Pendleton. The wind energy will be exported back to shore through underground cable, and once it reaches land, the wind power will be transported to an onshore grid interconnection.
The newly named Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project is expected to begin immediately and is expected to be installed by the end of 2020.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell were in attendance for Monday’s announcement at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
The governor says Hampton Roads has $87 billion worth of property in jeopardy because of global warming and rising sea levels. He says that’s why this clean energy wind farm was worth the three-year fight to get it.
“We are creating thousands of new jobs in one of the hottest spaces in the globe,” McAuliffe said. “I don’t know how you can be opposed to this clean energy. It saves the environment. It helps with issues of sea-level rise. If someone is opposed to this, I say get your head out of the sand, because you are not looking out for your children.”
The two turbines in the pilot program will look like giant windmills reaching 600 feet out of the ocean. The base will stretch about 160 feet down.
“We got to build them and see how they handle the winters and the hurricane seasons, and we have to see if the wind resources are adequate, which we think they are,” Farrell said.
The turbines will produce enough clean energy to power 3,000 Virginia Beach homes. They will not be visible from shore.
Dominion Energy will pay for the project and will redistribute the wind energy once it hits the shore.
DONG Energy are the technical experts who have done this before and have made it work.
“We built our first wind farm in 1991 in Denmark. We know offshore wind is possible,” says Francis Slingsby, of DONG Energy.
Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement in response to today’s announcement of Virginia’s first offshore wind project.
Governor McAuliffe and our administration have worked urgently to reduce our carbon footprint and invest in renewable energy to protect our Commonwealth for generations to come. Today’s announcement of two wind turbines’ construction off the coast of Virginia Beach is a promising step forward. I look forward to seeing the project move forward, and I will continue to advocate for diversifying Virginia’s energy economy in the years to come.”