– Survey vessels in April started studies of the 112,800-acre Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind lease area
– Virginia Beach fishermen will be employed to ‘scout’ operational areas during survey activities
– Dominion Energy focused on working to develop a U.S.-based offshore wind supply chain anchored in Hampton Roads
RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) Dominion Energy and its contractors remain on track to ensure the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project remains on schedule to become an economic driver in Hampton Roads. The project team and vessel crews have implemented processes to navigate the impact of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Two vessels – the M/V Sarah Bordelon and M/V Marcelle Bordelon contracted through TerraSond – earlier this month started geophysical studies in the 112,800-acre project lease area, 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach where the 2,600-megawatt project will be built beginning in 2024. These surveys will provide the company with the geological, biological, and oceanographic data needed to support planning and construction in a manner that facilitates coexistence between the natural marine ecosystem and clean energy development. Ultimately, this data will support preparation of the project’s Construction and Operations Plan to be submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) later this year.
The survey vessels will be equipped with hull mounted and towed equipment to collect geophysical data, while additional equipment will be deployed later this summer at specific locations to conduct seafloor sampling.
“Safety is our top priority and while the coronavirus pandemic has created unique challenges, our teams have safely worked through them to keep the development of the commercial offshore wind project on track,” said Mark D. Mitchell, Dominion Energy vice president of generation construction. “At the same time, we are working diligently with our suppliers to develop a U.S.-based offshore wind supply chain anchored in Hampton Roads, which would establish Virginia as the leader in offshore wind in America.”
Eyeing an offshore wind hub in Hampton Roads, Dominion Energy has tapped the region’s fishing and maritime communities for support on the CVOW projects.
- Local fishing vessels out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach are engaged as scouts to help the survey vessels avoid any interactions between fisheries and survey operations.
- The survey vessels are based out of the Colonna’s Shipyard in Norfolk.
- Barges from Cape Henry Launch Service in Virginia Beach have hauled equipment and materials for the pilot project.
- Crofton Industries in Portsmouth mobilized a vessel and divers to perform underwater work for the company’s pilot project earlier this year.
Dominion Energy is also working with wind turbine and other manufacturers to encourage them to bring the much-needed U.S.-based supply chain to Hampton Roads, spurring economic development and employment opportunities in the region, while lowering project costs.
Recognizing the importance of commercial and recreational fisheries in the region, Dominion Energy has engaged the fishing and maritime communities to coordinate CVOW’s offshore operations, address questions, and obtain feedback from the fishing community.
Earlier this year, Dominion Energy and Fisheries Liaison Officers from Sea Risk Solutions, who are supporting both the pilot and commercial projects, conducted regional outreach meetings and in-person port visits to share project updates and listen to concerns from the region’s fishermen. Recent coronavirus restrictions on travel and in-person meetings have been accommodated by the electronic distribution of updated project materials.
Construction nears on the pilot project as the components and foundations for the two, 6-megawatt turbines to be installed later this spring were safely transported across the Atlantic Ocean by the MC-Class Bigroll Beaufort.
Dominion Energy’s offshore wind projects are part of the company’s comprehensive clean energy strategy to achieve net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions from its power generation and gas infrastructure operations by 2050. To accomplish this goal, the company is rapidly expanding solar and wind energy across Virginia, in partnership with zero-carbon nuclear and low-carbon natural gas. Additionally, the company is investing in renewable natural gas, battery storage, pumped hydroelectric storage and other resources that can complement solar and wind energy.