Story at a glance

  • Dominion Energy has proposed the largest offshore wind energy project in the U.S.
  • More than 220 giant wind turbines would be built about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.
  • The company hopes to have the first wind turbines operational by 2024.
  • The project is part of a wider push by the state toward renewable energy.

When Captain Bartholomew Gosnold sailed his ship Godspeed from London to the New World in 1607, the trip would have taken two months with favorable winds. Instead, the journey took 144 days, a bleak beginning for the ill-fated settlement of Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in America. Gosnold died only four months after making landfall, and the colony soon spiraled into death and cannibalism.

The importance of harnessing wind has not been lost on Virginia, and a little more than 300 years later, it is seen as a way to propel the state into a future of clean energy. 

Dominion Energy has proposed the largest offshore wind project in the U.S., a plan that will have more than 220 giant wind turbines spinning off the coast of Virginia Beach.

“We’re committed to reducing our carbon emissions by 55 percent by 2030,” Dominion Energy spokesman Jeremy Slayton tells Changing America. “Our customers are telling us they want more solar and wind, and more reliable electric service. We’re responding by investing in renewables and a transformed energy grid. It will help them reduce their carbon footprint, give them more control over their energy usage and bills, and reduce the quantity and duration of outages,” says Slayton.

This offshore wind farm would be the first such project owned solely by an electric utility. The expectation is that more than 2,600 megawatts of wind energy would be generated by 2026—enough to power 650,000 homes during peak wind.

Each turbine blade will have the wingspan equal to the world’s largest passenger jet, according to this brief Dominion Energy video that demonstrates the science behind the offshore wind farm construction.

“Virginia is leading by example and demonstrating how states can step up to combat climate change and advance a clean energy economy,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a recent news release. The release added, “Executive Order Forty-Three sets new statewide clean energy goals for the Commonwealth, including having 30 percent of Virginia’s electric system powered from renewable sources by 2030, and 100 percent of electricity coming from carbon-free sources by 2050.” 

The New Year will see the project gain momentum. “The next step will be to begin ocean survey work in 2020,” states Slayton. “We are required to submit our construction and operations plan by April of 2022, but plan to submit the COP in late 2020 to support our anticipated construction timeline of having the first wind turbines operational in 2024.”

If you want to learn about the science behind how a wind turbine works, you can get details in this link from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Published on Nov 27, 2019