Dominion Energy Reaches Key Milestone for Coastal Virginia Wind Project
RICHMOND, Va. — A major offshore wind project being undertaken by Dominion Energy off the Virginia coast reached a major regulatory milestone Monday when federal regulators announced the pending release of their draft environmental impact statement.
If it wins final approval, the 2.6 GW project, which will be located in ocean waters off of Virginia Beach, is expected to provide enough energy to power up to 660,000 homes.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is publishing the draft EIS in the Federal Register on Friday, Dec. 16, opening a 60-day public comment period that will end at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 14, 2023.
Feedback on the draft EIS will inform BOEM’s preparations for the final EIS. Dominion Energy initially filed its Construction and Operations Plan with BOEM in December 2020, kicking off the environmental review.
“This is a major milestone that keeps [the project] on time and on budget for the benefit of Dominion Energy Virginia customers,” said Bob Blue, Dominion Energy’s chair, president and chief executive officer, in a written statement.
“Offshore wind offers many benefits for Virginia — it’s emissions-free, fuel-free and transformational for the Hampton Roads economy. We look forward to working with federal regulators and the public to ensure the project is fully protective of the environment,” he said.
Dominion Energy plans to spend about $9.8 billion to construct 176 14.7-megawatt Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy wind turbines and three offshore substations in a 112,800-acre commercial lease area located 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast.
Offshore construction is scheduled to begin in 2024 and conclude in late 2026.
According to a press release from the utility, the draft EIS reflects “the extensive studies, evaluations and design to maximize [the project’s] environmental benefits and minimize potential impacts.”
“This includes actions taken offshore to construct the wind turbine generators to minimize impacts to marine life, such as North Atlantic right whales, and actions taken onshore to design a transmission route that avoids impacts to natural resources to the maximum extent possible,” Dominion Energy said.
The project is expected to save Virginia customers more than $3 billion during its first 10 years in operation.
However, if ongoing commodity market pressure trends continue, those savings could total up to nearly $6 billion — almost double the savings, utility officials said.