Dominion, Ørsted seek Virginia regulatory approval of offshore wind demonstration project

Dominion Energy (NYSE:D) on Aug. 3 said that Dominion Energy Virginia and Ørsted are seeking Virginia State Corporation Commission approval to build two 6-MW turbines about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., and grid infrastructure that would be needed to connect the offshore wind facility to the coast.

According to the company’s Aug. 3 petition filed with the commission “for a prudency determination with respect to the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project,” or CVOW Project, the related generation and distribution interconnection facilities – the CVOW interconnect facilities – would include a smaller subset of generation interconnection facilities that are located entirely within Virginia.

Dominion, in its statement, said that Ørsted, which Dominion hired to build the CVOW, announced that a research vessel will conduct the final ocean floor mapping needed before construction can begin.

The offshore wind project would be located on 2,135 acres of federal waters leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Dominion added. The turbines would sit in about 80 feet of water and rise over 550 feet above the ocean’s surface, the company said, noting that the turbines would not be visible from the Virginia Beach shoreline.

While officially a demonstration project, it would be the first constructed in federal waters through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management‘s (BOEM) approval process, the company said, adding that the project would be the country’s second commercial-scale offshore installation, following one off the coast of Block Island, R.I., that has been operational since 2015.

The $300m project would provide critical permitting, construction and operational experience, and could pave the way for 2,000 more megawatts of carbon-free generation in the adjacent 112,000-acre wind energy lease area, Dominion said, adding that it currently leases the acreage that would be needed for the facility from BOEM.

The project would be funded through existing base rates, enabled by the Grid Transformation & Security Act, which was passed by the Virginia General Assembly and became law in July, declaring offshore wind to be in the public interest, as well as paving “the way for a smarter, stronger and greener energy grid,” according to the company.

As noted in the petition, the size of the CVOW Project allows the company to electrically interconnect at 34.5 kV – i.e., distribution level – thereby alleviating the need for a transmission-level interconnection, saving time relative to the schedule and costs to the customer.

The CVOW interconnect facilities begin with a 34.5-kV alternating current (AC) submarine cable that interconnects the two turbines to one another – referred to as the inter-array cable – and also to an approximately 27-mile, 34.5-kV AC submarine distribution cable – referred to as the export cable – which then connects to an onshore transition point located on Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation at an interface cabinet – referred to as the Beach Cabinet – in Virginia Beach.

From the Beach Cabinet, the petition added, a 34.5-kV underground cable – referred to as the onshore interconnection cable – continues onshore for about 1.2 miles, terminating at an interconnection station, where switches, auxiliary equipment, and a metering cabinet would be installed.

The Virginia interconnect facilities are a smaller subset of the CVOW interconnect facilities, which are located entirely within Virginia. The petition also noted that starting from the Virginia jurisdictional line demarcating state-owned submerged lands, the Virginia interconnect facilities include about 3.6 miles of export cable, the Beach Cabinet, the approximately 1.2-mile onshore interconnection cable, and the interconnection station.

The petition noted that Dominion in January executed an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement with Ørsted – formerly Dong Energy – and in June, Dominion executed an EPC agreement with L.E. Myers for the onshore portion of the project. Teamed with Mott MacDonald engineers, L.E. Myers was awarded the onshore EPC contract based on their combined experience with similar projects, the petition said.

Dominion noted in its statement that in conjunction with its filing for regulatory approval of the first phase of its Grid Transformation Plan in Virginia, the company committed last month to have 3,000 MW of new solar and wind under development, or in operation, in Virginia by the beginning of 2022.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3065 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.