Dominion Awarded $47 Million for Offshore Wind Demonstration

May 2014

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Dominion Virginia Power up to $47 million over four years to deploy innovative, grid-connected offshore wind turbines. The demonstration project, located 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, will install two 6-MW direct-drive wind turbines by 2017.

Key Details

  • Offshore wind is prevalent in other parts of the world, but not in the United States
  • Offshore wind has two distinct advantages for the southeastern/mid-Atlantic United States
    • Offshore wind blows predominantly in the daytime when demand is higher unlike land-based wind which is mainly a nighttime resource
    • There are few quality land-based locations for wind in the Southeast, but there is significant offshore potential
  • The Dominion project will demonstrate installation, operation, and maintenance methods for wind turbines located far from shore
  • In addition, the project will install and test a hurricane-resilient design to ensure that offshore wind facilities placed in hurricane-prone U.S. waters are reliable, safe, and cost effective
  • Federal funding was also granted to a 5-MW direct-drive wind turbine off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey and five 6-MW direct-drive turbines off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon
  • In addition to the demonstration project, Dominion secured a federal lease in 2013 with the potential to develop an offshore wind project capable of generating up to 2,000 MW of electricity

Implications

Offshore wind development in the United States has been hampered by high costs, technical issues, and permitting challenges. Dominion will be on the forefront evaluating the long-term potential of this extensive renewable resource. If successful, these demonstration projects are intended to provide the insights that will lower costs, drive greater performance, and clear hurdles to installing more utility-scale turbines in U.S. waters.

More Information

DOE: Energy Department Announces Innovative Offshore Wind Energy Projects

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Contributing Authors

Paul Quinlan Clean Tech Specialist

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