The Biden-Harris administration has approved the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) commercial project – the fifth approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project under President Biden’s leadership.
Located approximately 23.5 nautical miles offshore Virginia Beach, the CVOW commercial project is the largest yet, and would provide about 2,600 MW of clean, reliable offshore wind energy, capable of powering over 900,000 homes. The project is expected to provide about 900 jobs each year during the construction phase and support an estimated 1,100 annual jobs during the operations phase, generating vital economic development for Virginia’s Hampton Roads area and supporting investments in the Virginia coastal region as a hub for offshore wind development and support.
“The Interior Department is committed to the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government approach to the clean energy future, which helps respond to the climate crisis, lower energy costs, and create good-paying union jobs across the manufacturing, shipbuilding and construction sectors,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Today’s approval of the largest offshore wind project in U.S. history builds on the undeniable momentum we are seeing. Together with the labor community, industry, Tribes and partners from coast to coast, we are aggressively working toward our clean energy goals.”
The announcement comes on the heels of an October 27 event in Portsmouth, Virginia, to celebrate the arrival of the first eight monopile foundations for the CVOW project. The foundations will be staged at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal until construction begins next spring.
After carefully considering the analysis and alternatives in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), including public comments on the Draft EIS, the Department has approved a combination of Alternative B and Alternative D-1, which includes up to 176 wind turbine generators, each with a capacity of 14.7 MW. This combination will reduce impacts to navigation and a known fish haven, allow for ocean co-use, and meet the energy needs of Virginia. Invaluable feedback was gathered through nation-to nation consultations with Tribes, input from federal, state and local agencies, and from public meetings and comments in analyzing the project’s potential environmental impacts and developing possible alternatives and mitigation measures.
The Record of Decision includes measures aimed at avoiding, minimizing and mitigating the potential impacts that may result from the construction and operation of the project. Among those measures, Dominion Energy has committed to establishing fishery mitigation funds to compensate recreational and commercial fisheries for any losses directly arising from the project. Dominion Energy has also committed to measures, including vessel speed restrictions and construction clearance zones, to reduce the potential for impacts to protected species, such as marine mammals, sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon.
The Record of Decision will be published in the Federal Register later this week and can be found on the BOEM website.
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