News

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project reaches key milestone

The first monopile foundation for the 2.6-gigawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) was installed recently approximately 29 miles off the Virginia Beach coast, Dominion Energy announced.

The monopile was installed by the Orion, DEME Group’s heavy lift vessel. Once the offshore wind project is complete in late 2026, CVOW will consist of 176 turbines that will generate enough clean energy to power up to 660,000 homes. It is also expected to generate fuel savings of $3 billion for customers during the first 10 years of operation.

“This is a monumental day for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind team, who have worked tirelessly to keep this project on budget and on schedule to provide our customers with reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy,” Robert Blue, Dominion Energy’s chair, president and CEO, said. “We are taking extensive precautions to ensure this project is fully protective of the environment and to protect marine species.”

The monopile foundations are single vertical, steel cylinders manufactured by global leader EEW SPC. They are being staged at Portsmouth Marine Terminal and then installed into the sea floor to support the wind turbine generators. Dominion Energy will continue to install monopiles through the fall of 2024 and resume installations in May 2025.

“We are proud to partner with Dominion Energy on this landmark project,” Bill White, president DEME Offshore US, said. “DEME’s Orion vessel, equipped with industry-leading Vibro Hammer technology, is uniquely designed to efficiently install CVOW’s massive monopiles, all weighing over 1,000 tons. Our talented project team will include skilled American union pile drivers, creating a robust and prepared workforce. We look forward to working with our consortium partner Prysmian to help deliver Virginia-made energy to the Commonwealth.

To be protective of the endangered North Atlantic right whale, no monopiles will be installed between Nov. 1 and April 30, when the whales are expected to be migrating past the project area.

Additional measures to protect whales and other aquatic life include the use of bubble curtains – perforated hoses that have air pumped through them – to create a wall of bubbles around the monopiles during installation to reduce soundwaves underwater.

Dave Kovaleski

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