The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project remains on schedule to become an economic driver in Hampton Roads. The project team and vessel crews have implemented processes to navigate the impact of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, Dominion Energy said Monday.
Two vessels – the M/V Sarah Bordelon and M/V Marcelle Bordelon contracted through TerraSond – earlier this month started geophysical studies in the 112,800-acre project lease area, 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach where the 2,600-megawatt project will be built beginning in 2024.
These surveys will provide Dominion Energy with the geological, biological, and oceanographic data needed to support planning and construction "in a manner that facilitates coexistence between the natural marine ecosystem and clean energy development."
Ultimately, Dominion said, this data will support the preparation of the project's Construction and Operations Plan to be submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) later this year.
The survey vessels will be equipped with hull-mounted and towed equipment to collect geophysical data, while additional equipment will be deployed later this summer at specific locations to conduct seafloor sampling.
"Safety is our top priority and while the coronavirus pandemic has created unique challenges, our teams have safely worked through them to keep the development of the commercial offshore wind project on track," said Mark D. Mitchell, Dominion Energy vice president of generation construction. "At the same time, we are working diligently with our suppliers to develop a U.S.-based offshore wind supply chain anchored in Hampton Roads, which would establish Virginia as the leader in offshore wind in America."
Dominion Energy has also said it has tapped the region's fishing and maritime communities for support on the CVOW projects.
"Local fishing vessels out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach are engaged as scouts to help the survey vessels avoid any interactions between fisheries and survey operations. The survey vessels are based out of the Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk," Dominion said.
Barges from Cape Henry Launch Service in Virginia Beach have hauled equipment and materials for the pilot project. Crofton Industries in Portsmouth mobilized a vessel and divers to perform underwater work for the company's pilot project earlier this year.
"Dominion Energy is also working with wind turbine and other manufacturers to encourage them to bring the much-needed U.S.-based supply chain to Hampton Roads, spurring economic development and employment opportunities in the region, while lowering project costs," the company added.
"Recognizing the importance of commercial and recreational fisheries in the region, Dominion Energy has engaged the fishing and maritime communities to coordinate CVOW's offshore operations, address questions, and obtain feedback from the fishing community," It said.
"Construction nears on the pilot project as the components and foundations for the two, 6-megawatt turbines to be installed later this spring were safely transported across the Atlantic Ocean by the MC-Class Bigroll Beaufort."