Dominion Energy Marks Milestone In Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project

The first monopile foundation for the 2.6-gigawatt offshore wind farm was installed approximately 29 miles off the Virginia Beach coast.

Dominion Energy recently announced the first monopile foundation for the 2.6-gigawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW), the largest offshore wind farm under construction in the United States, was installed approximately 29 miles off the Virginia Beach coast. The monopile was installed by the Orion, DEME Group’s heavy lift vessel.

Once complete in late 2026, CVOW will consist of 176 turbines that will generate enough clean, renewable energy to power up to 660,000 homes and is expected to generate fuel savings of $3 billion for customers during the first 10 years of operation.

With about six million residential and business customers in 15 states, Dominion Energy provides electricity and natural gas.

The monopile foundations, which are being staged at Portsmouth Marine Terminal, are single vertical, steel cylinders manufactured by global leader EEW SPC and are being installed into the sea floor to support the wind turbine generators (shown below). Consistent with the project construction schedule, Dominion Energy will continue to install monopiles through the fall of 2024 and resume installations in May 2025.

offshore wind
Wind turbine equipment at the start of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, in 2020. (Photo: Dominion Energy)

“This is a monumental day for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind team, who have worked tirelessly to keep this project on budget and on schedule to provide our customers with reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy’s Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer at the May 22, 2024 milestone event. “We are taking extensive precautions to ensure this project is fully protective of the environment and to protect marine species.”

“We are proud to partner with Dominion Energy on this landmark project,” said Bill White, President DEME Offshore US. “DEME’s Orion vessel, equipped with industry-leading Vibro Hammer technology, is uniquely designed to efficiently install CVOW’s massive monopiles, all weighing over 1,000 tons. Our talented project team will include skilled American union pile drivers, creating a robust and prepared workforce. We look forward to working with our consortium partner Prysmian to help deliver Virginia-made energy to the Commonwealth.

To be protective of the endangered North Atlantic right whale, no monopiles will be installed between November 1 and April 30, the time that the whales are expected to be migrating past the project area.  Additional measures to protect whales and other aquatic life include the use of bubble curtains — perforated hoses that have air pumped through them — to create a wall of bubbles around the monopiles during installation to reduce soundwaves underwater. Vessels will also be staffed by Protected Species Observers and will adhere to speed restrictions to avoid collisions with protected species.

Offshore wind’s economic development and jobs benefits are transformative for Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth. More than 800 Virginia-based workers — nearly 670 in the Hampton Roads region — have been engaged on the CVOW project or with other businesses supporting CVOW. This work includes redevelopment activities at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, construction of the offshore wind Monitoring and Coordination Center, maritime provisioning, ship upkeep, heavy lift and rigging, cyber security, food service and hospitality. More than 1,000 local jobs will be needed to support ongoing operations and maintenance of this facility after the project begins commercial operation.

CVOW Final Transmission Route Map (Source: Dominion Energy)
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