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Dominion Energy completes turbine installation at offshore wind pilot project

Dominion Energy Virginia has completed the installation of two turbines comprising the 12-MW pilot project at its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, off the coast of Virginia Beach County, Va.

The Dominion Energy Inc. subsidiary, known legally as Virginia Electric and Power Co., will now conduct acceptance testing before connecting the turbines to the grid later in the summer. The two wind turbines, with 6-MW capacity each, were supplied by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA.

The pilot project will not result in an electric rate increase under the provisions of Virginia's Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018. The project is the first to have been approved by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and installed in federal waters, and the second to begin operation, Dominion said in a June 29 news release.

Siemens Gamesa will provide roughly 180 wind turbines with a 14-MW generation capacity each for Dominion Energy Virginia's full-scale 2,600-MW offshore power plant.

Survey and geotechnical work is still in progress on the full-scale project. These surveys will support the development of the project's construction and operations plan to be submitted with BOEM later in 2020, Dominion said.

Wind developer Ørsted US Offshore Wind completed the first turbine foundations prior to the installation. The Denmark-headquartered company was tapped to develop the full-scale project under an engineering, procurement and construction contract.

Dominion Energy said in the release that it plans to begin construction of the larger wind farm in 2024. Originally announced in September 2019, the largest offshore wind farm in the U.S. will be completed in three phases of 880 MW each. The second phase is expected in 2025 and the third in 2026. The full project is expected to cost around $8 billion.

The facility will be included in the company's plans to add about 5,100 MW of offshore wind, nearly 16,000 MW of solar and about 2,700 MW of energy storage to its portfolio through the end of 2035. These plans align with Virginia Clean Economy Act that was signed into the state law in mid-April by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

The company previously outlined the potential for $1.1 billion in offshore wind investments through 2023, inclusive of the $300 million pilot project, as part of its five-year capital plan.