Dominion Energy Inc., which is developing one of the largest US offshore wind farms, is already making plans for another similar-sized project off Virginia’s coastline.
“Assuming that our first project is successful, and it appears to be going in that direction, it means we will have a very well seasoned operations and project team, and we’ll be well positioned to do another project,” Joshua Bennett, vice president for offshore wind, said Tuesday in an interview. “Probably identical to the first.”
Dominion’s initial project, Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind, completed its final environmental impact review last week and is on track to receive final approval from the federal government by the end of this month, according to Bennett. He expects offshore construction to begin in the second quarter of 2024. The 2.6-gigawatt project, 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, will generate enough energy to power up to 660,000 homes.
Much of the US offshore wind industry has been beset by hurdles amid rising costs. However, Bennett said Dominion has been largely unaffected in part because it lined up supply deals in 2021, before the wave of inflation that is making some of his rivals’ contracts unviable. That’s making the company confident about pursuing additional offshore deals, he said on the sidelines of the American Clean Power Association’s Offshore Windpower conference this week in Boston.
Dominion expects to install half of the foundations for the $9.8 billion Coastal Virginia project next year and the rest the following year. It will start installing the first of a planned 176 turbines in 2025 and should deliver electricity to the grid in the third quarter of that year. The entire project should be complete in 2026.
Meanwhile, the company plans to participate in a lease process next year to win permission for the second wind farm in the same area. While it’s difficult to estimate the budget for something that far in advance, Bennett said the entire process will likely become easier as the US develops a domestic supply chain for offshore wind.
“As this industry starts to mature, the suppliers are coming,” he said. “That’s already starting to happen.”
© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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