Dominion Lays Out Plan for 2.6GW of Offshore Wind in Virginia

Dominion Energy, the Virginia-based utility, laid out plans
Thursday for a 2.6-gigawatt offshore wind project off its home
state’s coastline. It’s the largest offshore wind project put
forward so far in the accelerating U.S. market.

Dominion plans to construct the project in three 880-megawatt
phases from 2024 to 2026, completing one phase a year some 27 miles
off the coast of Virginia Beach. Dominion will draw from the
lessons it learns from its 12-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore
Wind pilot project, which recently began construction and is due
online next year — likely becoming the second U.S. project to
cross the finish line.

Dominion has filed an interconnection request for its
2.6-gigawatt project with PJM, the grid operator for much of the
East Coast and Midwest.

Dominion is unique in being the only major utility to
exclusively hold the rights to a large offshore wind zone in
federal waters near its own service territory. It secured in the
offshore market’s second-ever competitive lease auction in 2013
for a mere $1.3 million. Rather than developing the project and
competing for an offtake deal, like most developers must, Dominion
will instead be looking to build the project for its own generation
needs.

The project will, however, face regulatory scrutiny in Virginia,
where the $300 million price tag for Dominion’s 12-megawatt pilot
project has raised eyebrows.

Several other East Coast utilities, including New Jersey’s
PSEG and New England’s Eversource, are invested in offshore wind
projects near their service territories, but none is an exclusive
project owner.

Given its lack of experience offshore, Dominion partnered with
Denmark’s Orsted, the world’s leading offshore wind developer,
for its Coastal Virginia pilot. 

Siemens Gamesa will supply two 6-megawatt turbines for that
project. Although Orsted does not yet have a formal role at the
2.6-gigawatt project, it does have the exclusive rights to discuss
an expanded partnership with Dominion — potentially further
expanding its leading position in the U.S. market.

Separately on Thursday, Orsted named
GE
 the preferred turbine supplier for two U.S. offshore
projects totalling more than 1.2 gigawatts.

Dominion’s announcement comes two days after Virginia Governor
Ralph Northam signed
an executive order
 requiring 30 percent of the state’s
electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 and a
zero-carbon grid by 2050. As part of that executive order, Northam
specifically called for the “full development” of Dominion’s
offshore wind zone by 2026.

While it has become a major owner of solar capacity, Dominion
has
faced criticism
from some big corporations in its service area
for not building renewables capacity more quickly. The utility
recently announced plans for its
first grid battery
storage projects.

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Dominion Lays Out Plan for 2.6GW of Offshore Wind in Virginia