Dominion Energy seeks input on wind energy development project

Dominion Energy has begun the development of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project (CVOW), a project that converts wind into usable energy. 

The project started in October of 2020, with two turbines as tall as the Washington Monument, 27 miles from the coast of Virginia Beach. Those two turbines have been responsible for generating clean energy for over 3,000 homes in Virginia. They have also been the foundation for the expansion of the project to become the largest wind project in America. This project consists of almost 180 turbines generating enough energy to power the homes of roughly 600,000 Virginia Dominion Energy customers.

The project is also set to have an immense economical upside on Hampton Roads, mainly by establishing the Hampton Roads region as the supply chain hub for the east coast’s offshore wind industry. According to an economic-impact study created by the Hampton Roads Alliance, CVOW could create roughly 900 jobs and $143 million in positive economic impact when construction of the project begins in 2024. By 2026, when the turbines begin, over 1,000 jobs and almost $210 million in economic impact could be generated. 

In order to distribute the energy, an electric transmission foundation must be built that will connect to the Fentress Substation in Chesapeake, Virginia. The proper routes to connect to the substation are in the process of being mapped out in order to determine the safest routes to keep community impact to a minimum and effectively get the energy to the grid. Dominion Energy currently has six proposed routes after eliminating several others to maintain the safety of our communities.

John Larson, Director of public policy and economic development at Dominion said that “ “Safety is our number one priority for the women and men working on this project. We will construct and operate CVOW in a manner that is fully protective of environment, the wildlife and the community members that live in and enjoy this area.”

Dominion Energy is looking for input from the public. It offers them the opportunity to learn how the current proposed routes will impact certain areas and gather other important information. In order to make it easier to receive input, Dominion developed an online tool called GeoVoice, where anyone can see each routing proposal and share their thoughts on the area. The tool can be accessed on their website; coastalvawind.com.

Regional policy director of Dominion Energy Bonita Billingsley Harris had some great things to say about the upcoming project. 

“Our customers expect us to be part of the solution in their clean energy future. Offshore wind is a crucial component to meeting goals outlined in the Virginia Clean Economy Act and Dominion Energy’s own net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions goal by 2050.“ 

U.S Senator Mark Warner also had some positive things to say about the CVOW project during a senate hearing. 

“The economic potential of offshore wind is truly dramatic, we have a great example of that from the first grid connected offshore wind farm off Block Island in Rhode Island….the only place where it fell short is in the materials and technologies that were used for the turbines. The towers came from Denmark, the sails came from France, and the blades from Denmark and we can do better than that. One of the ways to do that is to include domestic content incentives or requirements in our offshore wind production tax credit.”

Bonita Billingsley Harris said, ”We encourage your readers to engage with us and let their voices be heard, so we can learn as much as we can about their communities and what is important to them.”

The public can participate in the Hampton Roads Messenger virtual Community Conversation where they can hear from Dominion representatives and ask questions about the upcoming project. The panel is Wednesday, June 16 at 6 PM. To register for the panel and get more information, visit hamptonroadsmessenger.com.