Story at a glance
- The second offshore wind farm in the U.S> has been completed and installed.
- It will be able to provide electricity for up to 3,000 homes.
The second offshore wind farm in the U.S. has been completed, featuring the installation of a two-turbine, 12-megawatt pilot facility 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The project was completed by Dominion Energy.
The first U.S. offshore wind farm is a five-turbine facility off the coast of Rhode Island, the Block Island Wind Farm.
Called the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project, this new wind farm is the first to be approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to be installed in federal waters, and the second constructed in the United States, according to a press release.
The turbines will undergo testing before being used later this summer. At peak output, they will produce enough power for 3,000 Virginia households.
“The construction of these two turbines is a major milestone not only for offshore wind in Virginia but also for offshore wind in the United States," said Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II in a prepared statement. "Clean energy jobs have the potential to serve as a catalyst to re-ignite the economy following the impacts of the pandemic and continue driving down carbon emissions.”
The company plans to continue applying for permits to develop a larger-scale project that will feature a 2,600-megawatt commercial wind farm that is anticipated to be the largest offshore wind project in North America. Construction is set to begin in 2024, and anticipated to power up to 650,000 homes.
The announcement acknowledged that construction had been completed safely and punctually despite economic and public health threats due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virginia’s new offshore farm also comes at a time when clean energy jobs are feeling the economic sting of a recession catalyzed by the coronavirus. In May, a reported 27,000 clean energy jobs were lost due to economic constraints.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from both chambers and both sides of the aisle were looking to give federal aid to the energy sector, grappling with a recession and falling oil prices at the onset of the pandemic in the U.S.
While the offshore wind industry is still in its infancy in the U.S., the onshore industry is larger, boasting over 100 gigawatts as of October, per CNBC.