Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and other dignitaries participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking in Virginia Beach Monday, shoveling sand as they marked the beginning of construction on the project, scheduled to be completed in 2020.
Approved by the State Corporation Commission in November, it is the first project to be built in federal waters, although Rhode Island has five wind turbines in state waters.
“These onshore construction activities are another major milestone in our plan to bring offshore wind to the Commonwealth and are a sign of our commitment to bring more renewable energy to our customers,” Farrell said in a statement.
The project will include an electrical substation and subsea cables that will connect to two massive offshore wind turbines.
The 6-megawatt turbines will be 600 feet tall when measured from the ocean’s surface to the tip of the top blade—or taller than the Washington Monument. The initiative, dubbed the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) demonstration project, will power electricity for up to 3,000 homes.
The offshore turbines will be built by Denmark-based energy company Ørsted and will be operational late next year. Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based L. E. Myers Co. will perform onshore construction work. The project will be constructed on 2,135 acres leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME).
Dominion announced plans for the project two years ago and has received approval from the State Corporation Commission, the state Department of Environmental Quality and Marine Resources Commission as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“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,” Northam said in a statement.
Dominion says the development will be funded from existing base rates with no added cost to Dominion customers.