The project is set to be the largest offshore wind farm in America and could cement Virginia as the nation’s leading wind power hub
RICHMOND, August 5, 2022 — Business association Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) applauded today’s State Corporation Commission decision greenlighting construction of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The project is set to be the largest offshore wind farm in North America and follows the landmark 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which included specific provisions to encourage the development of offshore wind, helping Virginia’s largest utility go 100% clean by 2045.
“CVOW represents the tremendous potential of the VCEA, both to build a clean, reliable grid and to grow the Commonwealth’s economy in the process,” said Harrison Godfrey, Managing Director at Advanced Energy Economy. “This project, which will be the largest offshore wind farm in North America when complete, will power over 600,000 homes in Richmond, Virginia Beach City, Newport News, and beyond with reliable, zero-emission electricity. To put it into perspective, that’s more homes than in all of New Hampshire!"
“What Virginians pay for their energy bills has a lot to do with where we get our energy from. With offshore wind we don’t have to worry about a geopolitical conflict or a pipeline disaster raising our energy costs,” continued Godfrey. “Harnessing local wind power will keep costs low and predictable for customers year after year. We know offshore wind can deliver for Virginia thanks to the pilot project off our coast.”
The VCEA also provided the SCC with an important and appropriate role ensuring that the costs of an offshore wind project are reasonable and prudent. In evaluating the project, the VCEA explicitly empowered the Commission to consider whether the utility employed a truly competitive procurement process, whether the total cost of energy from the project meets given thresholds, and whether the timeline for completion is sufficient to ensure Virginians can soon enjoy the benefit of abundant clean power from offshore wind.
“We’re pleased that the Commission also exercised their authority under the VCEA to protect ratepayers as offshore wind is developed in Virginia,” said Godfrey. “Specifically, we’re glad to see that the Commission has required the utility to file notice if total costs may exceed what was estimated and to annually update the Commission on any material changes or cost overruns. There’s no reason why Virginia’s energy transition cannot be accomplished in a prudent and cost-effective way.”
“Approving this offshore wind project offers an extraordinary economic development opportunity to build a new domestic industry right here in Virginia. By developing, operating, and maintaining these wind farms in Hampton Roads, one of the largest port areas on the East Coast, the Commonwealth can become a manufacturing hub for offshore wind, creating more than 5,000 good, middle-class jobs in manufacturing and infrastructure. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is an important step toward that future. We at Virginia AEE look forward to what offshore wind holds for Virginia workers and industry.”