A July 2 Federal Register notice will open the process for preparing an environmental impact statement for Dominion Energy’s Virginia offshore wind energy project, federal officials said Thursday.

The notice starts the clock on a 30-day public comment period to midnight Aug. 2, with three online virtual public scoping meetings planned, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project would be built starting about 23.5 nautical miles offshore, with up to 205 turbines generating up to 3,000 megawatts, according to a BOEM summary. That’s a step up from the 2,640 MW potential cited in Dominion’s original application and could reflect the industry trend of planning up from 12-MW turbines to 14-MW machines.

Power would be cabled to three offshore substations, and carried to shore via an export cable possibly making landfall in Virginia Beach, Va. The project “would generate an average of approximately 900 jobs from 2020-2026, with a peak of approximately 1,500 jobs in 2024 and 2025,” according to BOEM. “During operations and maintenance, the CVOW-C project would support about 1,100 long-term jobs.”

It would be the largest planned offshore wind array to date for U.S. waters. Dominion obtained its 112,800-acre federal lease in 2013, and activated the first commercial wind turbines in federal waters when two 6-MW turbines in a pilot project at the edge of the lease 27 miles east of Virginia Beach were turned on in September 2020.

“Building a domestic offshore wind supply chain is a key step needed to meet this administration’s goal of 30 GW by 2030,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said in announcing the EIS study. “If approved, the CVOW-C project will represent another step forward to help the United States leverage existing manufacturing and workforce capabilities to grow a network of domestic suppliers.”

Dominion is having a $500 million wind turbine installation vessel – the first U.S.-flag, Jones Act-compliant vessel in that class – built to serve its project, and others planned off the East Coast.

The 472’x184’ WTIV will be one of the largest worldwide, with a Huisman main crane boom length of 426 feet and lifting capacity of 2,200 tons – enough the handle the next generation of 12- to 14-MW turbines standing over 800 feet tall.

The vessel is under construction by global marine shipbuilding firm Keppel AmFELS at its Brownsville, Texas, shipyard and will carry up to 119 persons when it goes into service by the end of 2023.

Dominion officials have stressed the vessel is not just for building the Virginia project, but is planned for a long career servicing other U.S. projects.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

Small Featured Spot