Dominion seeks award for Maryland offshore wind project

Dominion (NYSE: D) on Feb. 18 filed with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to be among the bidders seeking to develop wind turbines to generate electricity on nearly 80,000 acres off the coast of Maryland.

The area will be auctioned in two separate leases. The North Lease area totals 32,737 acres and the South Lease Area consists of 46,970 acres.

Dominion noted that it was the successful bidder in the bureau’s auction in September 2013 for 112,799 acres, 24 miles off the coast of Virginia.

“Offshore wind shows the most promise for building utility-sized renewable energy projects in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Mary Doswell, senior vice president for Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions unit. “The bureau’s Wind Energy Areas offer both the consistent winds and the acreage to develop these large-scale projects. Given the proximity to our leased area off of Virginia and the excellent port in Hampton Roads, there should be economies of scale that could benefit both regions.”

Dominion’s filing and those of other potential bidders will be reviewed by the bureau to determine which are financially qualified to participate in the auction. The auction was announced in a proposed sale notice that the bureau issued in December and the deadline for filing comments and qualification packages is Feb. 18. A date for the auction has not been set, but is expected in 2014.

Dominion has received two offshore wind energy technology awards from the U.S. Department of Energy. The first is a $500,000 grant with a goal to find innovative ways to reduce the cost of offshore wind generation by 25% and the second is a $4m cost share for the initial development of an offshore wind turbine demonstration project.

Dominion said it has completed the initial development of its demonstration project for the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Program. The company is one of six firms being considered for a $47m grant to complete development of their demonstration project. If successful, the company would continue advancing its plan to build two 6-MW wind turbines off the Virginia coast, adjacent to the area it has leased from the bureau for commercial development.

Dominion, the parent of Virginia Electric and Power, is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 23,600 MW of generation, 10,900 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,400 miles of electric transmission lines.  

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.