Virginia approves 2.6GW Dominion offshore wind farm

State regulators have approved Dominion Energy Virginia’s 2.64GW Coastal Virginia Offshore wind project.

Dominion Energy's nearby 12MW pilot project features two Siemens Gamesa 6MW turbines (pic credit: Ørsted)

The 176-turbine $9.8 billion project is due to come online 43km off Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2026. It would be the largest in the country.

The project is due to use Siemens Gamesa’s SG 14-222 DD turbines, according to a preliminary agreement. 

The decision by the State Corporation Commission (SCC) was not a surprise, though there have been concerns about the project’s cost. 

"Our customers expect reliable, affordable energy, and offshore wind is key for delivering on that mission,” said Robert Blue, Dominion Energy chair, president and CEO. “We are very pleased that the commission has approved this important project that will benefit our customers.” 

In its order, issued on 5 August, the SCC included a performance requirement as well as a requirement that Dominion file a notice within 30 days if the final project costs are projected to escalate, and that customers will be “held harmless” for any shortfall in output below an annual net capacity factor of 42%, as measured on a three-year rolling average.

According to the SCC’s order, the performance standard will prevent the utility’s customers “from also having to pay for replacement energy if the project does not generate the amount of electricity upon which Dominion bases its request and its cost estimates.”

Dominion’s Blue added: “We are reviewing the specifics of the order, particularly the performance requirement." 

The SCC estimates that over the projected 35-year lifetime of the project, a residential customer using 1MWh of electricity monthly will see their average monthly bill increase by $4.72 with a peak monthly bill increase of $14.22 in 2027.

Siemens Gamesa has said it will build a $200 million 0.32km2 blade plant in Portsmouth, Virginia once it receives a firm order for the project. 

Dominion’s nearby two-turbine 12MW pilot project also with Siemens Gamesa turbines, developed by Ørsted, came online in 2020.

Virginia’s Clean Economy Act requires at least 5.2GW of offshore wind power to be developed in the state by 2034.