McDonnell applauds award for offshore wind turbine technology demonstration to Virginia utility

wind-farm-headerGov. Bob McDonnell applauded the award of an offshore wind technology demonstration grant to a Virginia utility and announced today the beginning of a geological survey of the Virginia Wind Energy Area (WEA), encompassing 112,799 acres 23.5 nautical miles offshore Virginia Beach and the Port of Hampton Roads.  Both of these projects support a Commonwealth goal to accelerate commercial leasing and development of the Virginia WEA and offshore energy industry supply chain.

“I congratulate the Dominion Virginia Power team that received this award from the U.S. Department of Energy and I am pleased to announce the selection of Fugro Atlantic to conduct the geological survey. Both of these events quickly follow the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s decision to include Virginia as one of three states in the first-ever renewable energy lease sale on the Outer Continental Shelf,” said McDonnell.  “The turbine foundation technology demonstration and the regional ocean survey represent positive moves forward toward the development of offshore wind energy, an important and promising component of my plan to develop all of the Commonwealth’s domestic energy resources to make Virginia the ‘Energy Capitol of the East Coast.’”

The geological survey is funded by $300,000 in general funds in the Executive Budget and $300,000 in matching funds from the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  The state funding originates from an allocation recommended by the Governor to the DMME FY13 budget to accelerate and assist private development of the Virginia Wind Energy Area. The federal funds were awarded to the VA Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) by the BOEM Office of Renewable Energy Programs

“Because there has never been energy development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, there is only general knowledge of the character of the seafloor and sub-surface, and little record of how structures installed on the OCS have performed,” noted Thomas W. McNeilan, Fugro Atlantic Vice President.

“Beginning to fill the vacuum of uncertainty with tangible data that characterizes the physical and environmental conditions offshore is a critical pre-requisite to appropriate siting of wind energy structures and economic development of the offshore wind energy resources in the Atlantic OCS,” he said, adding that the survey will be conducted “with modern, state-of-the-practice geophysical instrumentation.  Most notably the use of advanced, environmentally quiet, sub-bottom systems and the most modern, ethernet-based, multi-channel, digital hydrophone recording system to allow advanced data processing so as to optimize clarity and detail of records and geologic definition of the subsurface.”


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