Largest offshore wind project in US approaches major regulatory milestone

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will issue a decision this autumn on whether to approve Dominion Energy’s 2.6GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project.

Dominion’s nearby two-turbine 12MW pilot project came online in 2020

The project has reached a major regulatory milestone after BOEM announced yesterday (25 September) that it had completed its environmental analysis of the project, 43.5km off Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The final environmental impact statement (EIS) reflects feedback from other ocean users, local communities, tribes and the offshore wind industry, said BOEM. 

“The completion of our environmental review marks another step towards a clean energy future – one that benefits communities and co-exists with other ocean users,” said BOEM director Elizabeth Klein.

‘Significant milestone’

"The completion of CVOW's environmental review is another significant milestone to keep the project on time and on budget,” added Bob Blue, Dominion Energy's chair, president and CEO. “Regulated offshore wind has many benefits for our customers and local economies – it's fuel free, emissions free and diversifies our fuel mix to maintain the reliability of the grid."

CVOW is the largest offshore wind project under development in the US. 

Virginia utility Dominion plans to install 176 Siemens Gamesa SG 14-222 DD wind turbines and three offshore substations in a 456.5km2 lease area.

Dominion has been looking to sell a minority stake in the project as part of an ongoing business review. Earlier this month, Blue said that “derisking of our regulated offshore wind project through the assumption of a non-controlling equity financing partner as provided for in recent Virginia legislation” would allow Dominion to source additional capital.

Dominion recently announced the $14 billion sale of its national gas distribution companies to Canadian utility Enbridge.

A settlement had been reached in December on rules for the construction cost and performance of the $9.8 billion wind project with state regulators and other parties. Dominion had previously said that it might scrap the project if it were to require a performance guarantee.