Biden administration to conduct review of wind project off Virginia coast

Biden administration to conduct review of wind project off Virginia coast
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The Interior Department on Thursday said its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will conduct an environmental review of an offshore wind project near Virginia Beach.

The agency will hold a 30-day public comment period starting Friday and conduct three virtual meetings before Aug. 2 to discuss environmental effects and necessary mitigation measures.

The project site is 23.5 nautical miles off the Virginia coast and would require up to 205 turbines that could generate 3,000 megawatts, according to the Interior Department. The department estimated that the project could create about 900 jobs over the next five years, with as many as 1,500 in 2024 and 2025, and long-term employment for about 1,100 workers.

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The Biden administration has set a goal of 30 gigawatts (GW) in offshore wind power generation by decade’s end.

“Building a domestic offshore wind supply chain is a key step needed to meet this administration’s goal of 30 GW by 2030,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Amanda Lefton.

She said that if approved, the project "will represent another step forward to help the United States leverage existing manufacturing and workforce capabilities to grow a network of domestic suppliers.”

Virginia has set an offshore energy generation goal of 5.2 gigawatts by 2034. Dominion Energy, the major electric utility for much of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, is already operating a separate offshore wind research project off Virginia Beach. The Interior Department said Thursday that data from Dominion's operations will help inform the agency's analysis of the safety and environmental impact of its proposed project.

The announcement comes weeks after the administration named an area between the New York and New Jersey coasts as the site of its first proposed offshore wind lease sale, the ninth by the federal government overall.