The Biden-Harris administration announced its approval of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) commercial project – the fifth approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project under President Biden’s leadership. Today’s announcement supports the Administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, following the approval of the Vineyard Wind 1, South Fork Wind, Ocean Wind 1, and Revolution Wind projects. When completed, these five projects will collectively add more than 5 gigawatts of clean, renewable energy to our nation’s grid, enough to power more than 1.75 million homes.
Located approximately 23.5 nautical miles offshore Virginia Beach, the CVOW commercial project is the largest yet, and would provide about 2,600 megawatts 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.”
“Today’s announcement is the result of hard work by the BOEM team and our ongoing conversations with Tribes, federal agency partners, state and local leaders, ocean users, industry and others to help inform the development of this project every step of the way,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Elizabeth Klein. “We look forward to continuing to work together to responsibly develop this clean energy resource and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.”
“The Biden-Harris administration just greenlit construction of the nation’s fifth massive-scale offshore wind project, growing a new American industry, lowering energy costs, creating good-paying jobs, and tackling the climate crisis,” said White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “More progress and economic opportunity are on the horizon as we put to use every tool available to bring offshore wind benefits to American workers and communities nationwide.”
The announcement comes on the heels of an October 27 event in Portsmouth, Va., to celebrate the arrival of the first eight monopile foundations for the CVOW project. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis delivered remarks, and was joined by BOEM Director Klein, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Kevin Sligh, the Governor and state, local and industry leaders. The foundations will be staged at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal until construction begins next spring.
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the middle out and bottom up – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean energy economy that will combat the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient.
Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has approved the nation’s first five commercial-scale, offshore wind energy projects. BOEM has held four offshore wind lease auctions totaling almost $5.5 billion in high bids, including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf Coasts. BOEM has also advanced the process to explore additional opportunities for offshore wind energy development in the U.S., including the Gulf of Maine and offshore Oregon and the U.S. Central Atlantic coast. The Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic-based supply chain.
With today’s milestone, BOEM remains on track to complete reviews of at least 16 offshore wind energy project plans by 2025, representing more than 27 gigawatts of clean energy.
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 megawatts. 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.