Virginia utility plans 2.6GW-plus offshore wind farm

Virginian utility Dominion Energy has announced plans for a 2.6GW-plus offshore wind project that it hopes to fully commission by 2026.

Dominion Energy announced the 2.6GW-plus wind farm at a press conference (pic credit: Rayhan Daudani/Dominion)

It has filed an application with regional transmission company PJM to interconnect the three-phase project to the grid, and plans to start ocean survey work next year and submit construction and operations plans in 2022.

The unnamed project would be built in the 456km2 site Dominion Energy is currently leasing from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 43km from the coast of Virginia Beach, it stated.

The development would comprise three 880MW phases for a combined capacity of 2,640MW, and Dominion plans to commission them from 2024-2026.

The project's 2,640MW total capacity makes it the US' largest planned offshore wind farm, edging out the planned 2.5GW Atlantic Shores project that developers EDF Renewables and Shell unsuccessfully entered into New York's offshore wind tender in July. 

"This filing with PJM shows how serious we are about bringing commercial-scale offshore wind to Virginia, giving our customers what they have asked for — more renewable energy," said Dominion’s vice president of generation construction, Mark Mitchell.

Dominion’s announcement comes after Virginia governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order earlier this week calling for up to 2.5GW of offshore wind projects to be under development and on an "accelerated timeline" by 2026. 

It also called for at least 3GW of solar PV and onshore wind to be under development by 2022.

Virginia currently has no operational wind farms, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

However, Dominion started construction of a 12MW two-turbine offshore wind demonstrator over the summer and expects to commission it in 2020.