Denmark’s Dong Energy has entered into a strategic partnership with a US firm to develop the mid-Atlantic’s first offshore wind project.
Dong is partnering up with Dominion Energy Virginia to build two 6-megawatt turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The two companies will now begin refining agreements for engineering, procurement and construction. Dominion Energy remains the sole owner of the project.
Engineering and development work on the newly named Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is expected to begin immediately by DONG Energy to support the targeted installation by the end of 2020.
The timing for construction depends on many factors such as weather and protected species migration patterns.
The project is an important first step toward offshore wind development for Virginia and the United States.
It would be only the second offshore wind project in the nation and the first owned by an electric utility company.
Along with clean energy, it will provide Dominion Energy with valuable experience in managing offshore wind resources.
Thomas F. Farrell, II, Dominion Energy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: “Virginia is now positioned to be a leader in developing more renewable energy thanks to the Commonwealth’s committed leadership and Dong’s unrivaled expertise in building offshore wind farms.
“While we have faced many technological challenges and even more doubters as we advanced this project, we have been steadfast in our commitment to our customers and the communities we serve.”
Samuel Leupold, executive vice president and chief executive of wind power at Dong Energy, said: “This project will provide us vital experience in constructing an offshore wind project in the US and serve as a stepping stone to a larger commercial-scale partnership between our companies in the future.
“We see the tremendous potential in the mid-Atlantic for emission-free, renewable wind generation and we are excited to help the Commonwealth in reaping the benefits of wind power.”
This phase one development of two wind turbines will be built approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach on a 2,135-acre site leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.
The project opens the door to long-term commercial wind development.
It will provide critical operational, weather and environmental experience needed for large-scale development in the adjacent 112,800-acre site leased by Dominion Energy from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
Full deployment could generate up to 2,000 megawatts of energy – enough to power half a million homes.
The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding which gives DongEnergy exclusive rights to discuss a strategic partnership with Dominion Energy about developing the commercial site based on successful deployment of the initial test turbines.
Dong Energy, based in Denmark with North American headquarters in Boston, owns 22 offshore wind farms in Europe and Asia.