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Dominion receives 2 approvals for 12-MW offshore wind project

With two important federal permits received Oct. 14, the 12-MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project being developed by Dominion Energy Virginia and Ørsted A/S could start delivering power to the PJM Interconnection grid by late 2020.

"This is a significant milestone as we move forward on building the first-ever fully permitted offshore wind project in federal waters," Mark Mitchell, Dominion Energy Inc.'s vice president of generation construction, said in a statement.

Dominion received "no objection" determinations from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in response to its Facility Design Report and Fabrication and Installation Report. The reports were filed in conjunction with global developer Denmark-based Ørsted and Spain's Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, the company manufacturing the project's two 6-MW wind turbines.

The facility report details the designs of the project's major components, and the fabrication report covers the equipment fabrication and installation plans. The companies said the bureau approvals are needed to move forward with offshore construction, which is "on track for the summer of 2020."

Electrical contractor L.E. Myers Co. began onshore construction in June to facilitate the wind turbine's interconnection at a Dominion-owned substation near the Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, according to the statement.

The transmission project is listed as "under construction" in the PJM Interconnection queue, which also shows it has completed a Feasibility Study Report and Wholesale Market Participation Agreement for injection of 12 MW of energy and 1.5 MW of capacity.

The offshore wind turbines will connect onshore through a 23.5-nautical-mile, 34.5-kV submarine cable, according to the participation agreement.

Offshore wind generation projects today can enter the PJM queue and be studied under the current interconnection process and the projects are handled the same as any other technology.

However, PJM has had increasing interest from transmission developers seeking to build offshore transmission facilities for still-to-be-planned future wind resources and the grid operator is working to adjust its rules for that kind of development.

States along the U.S. East Coast are seeking to procure more than 19,300 MW of offshore wind capacity through 2035, according to an analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts.

The country's only operational offshore wind farm is the 30-MW Block Island Offshore Wind project in Rhode Island that started up in 2016 using GE Renewable Energy's 6-MW Haliade turbines. The project was developed by Deepwater Wind, which Ørsted acquired for $510 million in 2018.

Dominion Energy Virginia, known legally as Virginia Electric and Power Co., has also filed an application with PJM to connect 2.6 GW of offshore wind to the mainland from 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach by 2026.

If approved, each project phase will total 880 MW, with the first phase being completed by 2024, according to Dominion.

Jared Anderson is a reporter for S&P Global Platts. S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.