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United States

Virginia's Dominion looks to build 2GW off Virginia

UNITED STATES: Virginia's largest utility Dominion Virginia Power has revealed it is interested in building 2GW of offshore wind off the state's coast.

Dominion, which moved into onshore wind in 2009, said it had the transmission infrastructure to handle the electricity generated by an offshore wind farm. It said it was looking to develop 500-2,000MW in phases starting at 100 turbines and eventually moving up to 400.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Dominion senior vice president Mary Doswell said: "If everything aligns and it makes good sense and we have our regulators on board, yes, we would be moving forward on a wind farm."

However, Doswell also said costs would have to move closer to Dominion's $0.12/kWh rates. "Wind is a great resource but we've got to work on this cost equation."

Although the majority of its portfolio consists of nuclear and coal, the utility moved into onshore wind in 2008. It built the 264MW NedPower Mount Storm Wind Project in partnership with Shell and has a 50% interest in 650MW of BP Alternative Energy's two-phase, 750MW Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Indiana.

Dominion has been looking at offshore wind since last year. In March 2011, it launched a study examining a transmission line that would connect any offshore projects.

Scot C Hathaway, vice president of transmission said: "An undersea transmission line project will be a key to getting wind generation from the Atlantic Ocean to our customers.

"Virginia has excellent resources for offshore wind energy. It makes sense for us to begin a preliminary scoping study of a transmission line and how it could make the offshore wind industry in Virginia viable, without regard to issues of rates, timing and integration into the PJM Interconnection regional transmission grid."

The first US offshore wind turbine is likely to be built in Virginia. Gamesa and shipbuilder Northrop Grumman have decided to base their G11X 5MW turbine development program.

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