Coastal Virginia offshore wind farm receives federal approval

The Interior Department on Tuesday approved a plan to install 176 giant wind turbines off the coast of Virginia, which would be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm.

The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, to be built by Dominion Energy, is the fifth commercial-scale offshore wind project approved by the Biden administration. When completed, the 2.6-gigawatt wind farm will produce enough electricity to power more than 900,000 homes, producing none of the planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions.

The project is expected to provide approximately 900 jobs each year during the construction phase and support an estimated 1,100 annual jobs once it becomes operational. “Further progress and economic opportunities are on the horizon as we use every tool available to bring the benefits of offshore wind to American workers and communities across the country,” said Ali Zaidi, White House National Climate Advisor.

The decision comes at a critical time for the offshore wind industry. To combat climate change, the Biden administration wants to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power in the United States by 2030. But the project has recently run into serious trouble as rising costs, rising interest rates, supply chain delays and developers struggle. Outbreaks of local resistance.

While dozens of offshore wind farms are planned along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, not all of those projects are guaranteed to be built. In Massachusetts, the company behind the Commonwealth Wind project terminated its contracts Citing unexpected inflation, the state utility plans to restructure at a higher rate this year. In New York, developers of four proposed offshore wind farms asked the state for more money before moving forward. New York rejected that request and it’s unclear whether plans will move forward.

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Analysts at BloombergNEF now expect just 16.4 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity to be completed by 2030, about half of the Biden administration’s goal.

However, despite the chaos, some projects are being implemented. On the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, construction is underway at Vineyard Wind, where 62 wind turbines are expected to be installed this year. In New Jersey, an Ocean Wind project is facing protests from Jersey Shore residents, the developer said It recently issued a $100 million bond Guarantee that the wind farm will be completed by 2025.

And in Virginia, Dominion Energy recently It welcomed the arrival of eight massive steel foundation posts from Germany In preparation for its $9.8 billion offshore wind project, it is located about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia. Construction is expected to be completed by 2026.

“Delivering the first foundations is further evidence that our Coastal Virginia offshore wind project continues to progress on time and on budget to provide our customers with reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy,” said Robert Blue, Dominion’s chief executive. Latest Report.

of the Biden administration Environmental Studies The Virginia Offshore Wind Project will help reduce local air pollution, but has the potential to disrupt local fishing grounds, wetlands and whale migration routes. As part of the approval process, Dominion agreed to relocate several turbines from known fish sanctuaries, and local fisheries agreed to compensate them for the losses they might suffer.

Elsewhere, similar concerns have slowed offshore wind projects. Fishing groups and landowners Many cases have been filed To stop the Vineyard Wind project in Massachusetts, he argued that the federal government had not properly studied the effects of wind farm fisheries or the endangered North American right whale. (One of those lawsuits is funded by a Texas-based nonprofit that promotes fossil fuels.)

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Elizabeth Klein, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which oversees coastal wind reviews, said her agency consulted with state and local leaders, tribes, ocean users, industry groups and other federal agencies as part of the decision for the green light. Virginia Project.

“We look forward to continuing to work together to responsibly develop this clean energy resource and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come,” said Ms. Klein.

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