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In a significant milestone for clean energy and economic growth, the Biden-Harris administration has granted its approval for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) commercial project, marking the fifth such approval under President Biden’s leadership. This announcement reinforces the administration’s ambitious objective to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, following the green light given to the Vineyard Wind 1, South Fork Wind, Ocean Wind 1, and Revolution Wind projects. Together, these five projects are set to contribute over 5 gigawatts of clean, renewable energy to the national grid, capable of powering more than 1.75 million homes.
The CVOW commercial project, situated approximately 23.5 nautical miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, stands as the largest of its kind and is expected to generate approximately 2,600 megawatts of clean, dependable offshore wind energy, enough to power more than 900,000 households. Notably, the project is projected to create around 900 jobs annually during its construction phase and support an estimated 1,100 jobs during its operational phase, facilitating vital economic development in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region. Additionally, it underscores Virginia’s role 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 labour community, industry, Tribes and partners from coast to coast, we are aggressively working toward our clean energy goals.”
The announcement was met with enthusiasm by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Elizabeth Klein, who stated, “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. We look forward to continuing to work together to responsibly develop this clean energy resource and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.”
White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi emphasized the broader implications, saying, “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. 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.”
This significant approval follows a recent event on October 27 in Portsmouth, Virginia, where the first eight monopile foundations for the CVOW project were celebrated. Laura Daniel-Davis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, delivered remarks during the event, joined by BOEM Director Klein, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Kevin Sligh, the Governor, and state, local, and industry leaders. These foundations will be staged at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal until construction commences next spring.
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda aims to boost the American economy, drive private sector investments in clean energy, create well-paying jobs, and combat the climate crisis. Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has approved the nation’s first five commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects and conducted several offshore wind lease auctions, demonstrating significant progress in the renewable energy sector.
Today’s approval of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project paves the way for the completion of at least 16 offshore wind energy project plans, representing over 27 gigawatts of clean energy, by 2025. Careful consideration and extensive consultation with various stakeholders and communities have resulted in the approval of a combination of Alternative B and Alternative D-1, incorporating 176 wind turbine generators, each with a capacity of 14.7 megawatts. This approach is designed to reduce impacts on navigation and protect local marine ecosystems. Moreover, Dominion Energy has committed to establishing fishery mitigation funds and implementing measures to minimize potential impacts on protected species, including marine mammals, sea turtles, and Atlantic sturgeon.