Harnessing the Wind: Historic Offshore Wind Project Now Producing Power Off the Virginia Beach Coast
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Dominion Energy is investing billions of dollars to change the energy equation in Hampton Roads, Virginia and the United States as a whole.
This includes moving away from fossil fuels for clean energy from wind and sun.
10 On Your Side was recently invited by the energy company to visit the wind farm, which is producing power for the first time.
Wind turbines stand out in the distance like majestic structures. As you approach below, you can hear the hum.
27 miles off Virginia Beach on the Rudee Whaler, Captain Charlie is at the helm. We are the first team to show wind turbines online and provide power to the people of Hampton Roads.
It takes about two hours to reach the site of the wind turbine.
On the way, Christina Trapani, the first officer, noticed a helium balloon transformed into number 2 floating in the water.
Captain Charlie turns around and Trapani is ready with the stretched net to pick up the ball that was part of a graduation or birthday party. As the balloon climbs aboard, the small crew applaud Trapani.
“These things are very dangerous for marine life.”
She would catch more debris on the way back.
In the distance, you can see Dominion Energy’s Virginia Coastal Wind Project. Two wind turbines are part of a pilot program laying out a plan for bigger things to come.
“These blades rotate with the wind and with that movement they generate electricity… the fuel for that is the wind,” said Kevin Carroll, director of operations maintenance for Dominion. “It’s free. It’s available. It’s clean and there’s really no carbon emissions generating electricity.
The two turbines produce enough electricity for 3,000 homes, and that electricity travels through submarine cables to an existing substation at Camp Pendleton. This is just the start, as there will be 180 14 megawatt turbines. They will begin to rise in spring 2024, with completion expected two years later.
Dominion is investing $ 8 billion in offshore wind power, and when completed, the project will provide enough electricity for 660,000 homes.
“They produce power that goes through an earth connection that goes to a switching station, that goes to a substation, and then it’s put on the grid,” Carroll adds.
The network is located at the Fentress substation in Chesapeake.
Potential routes for providing wind power to Fentress will be determined by citizen feedback during in-person open houses. Here is that information:
“We want to see what the impact will be on our neighbors,” adds Carroll. “We want to make sure that we can bring this energy to earth with as little disruption to anyone’s life as possible. ”
Dominion says these are the first turbines in federal waters in U.S. history, and of all proposed wind farms along the east coast except the one in Rhode Island, the two turbines are the the only ones currently online to generate electricity.
On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced that the project would be among the first in the country to use a new federal licensing process to accelerate offshore wind development by ensuring new offshore wind leases are approved in timely.
Northam’s office said the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM) and the North Atlantic Division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently announced a new agreement to provide the agencies with additional scientific and technical resources to assess offshore wind projects.
The initiative was developed in partnership with Old Dominion University and facilitated by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Retired Col. Paul Olsen, former USACE Norfolk District Commander, developed the clearance initiative. He is the Executive Director of Programs and Partnerships in the Office of Research at Old Dominion University.
The deal covers all renewable energy activities along the East Coast, but the initial focus will be on the Virginia Coastal Wind Project and the Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind Project in North Carolina.
“With tens of thousands of jobs at stake, we need everyone to do this for Virginia,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk), who started the Congressional Offshore Wind Caucus in March. “I am grateful to Governor Northam for bringing together the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to expedite the licensing process, and I am proud to support our Virginia Senators to help bring this project to fruition. . “
Back on the water, we weren’t the only crew that day. Two men on a fishing boat were positioned under one of the turbines, and this is one of the hooks of the project.
It’s a fishing destination with tons of fish at the base of the 500ft monopiles.
“This is Virginia’s project. You can go out here, and you can fish the turbines, and in fact the foundation acts like a great artificial reef. ”
And let’s not forget the jobs generated.
“During the construction phase, we will create 900 new jobs and during the operation and maintenance phase, 1,100 new jobs. ”
Who helps train the workforce?
Centura College, Norfolk will provide 600 certified wind technicians.
“They will be working on several types of simulators,” said Michael Lanouette, vice president of administration, Centura College. “One of them is learning to ride on a simulation platform system, to understand the different components of the turbines behind me. How electrical parts work, how mechanical parts work, how hydraulics work.
Carroll summed it up this way: “This is important because it is a step in the direction where we seek to remove carbon emissions from our grid… it is a big problem because we are bringing clean, renewable energy to the Commonwealth. from Virginia.
Dominion Energy wants to hear from you on potential routes to transport wind power from sea to shore, then to the grid for home use.
The will be two open doors in person June 22 and 24.