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Dominion Energy wind farm off coast of Virginia Beach under construction

offshore wind monopile
(© Thorsten Schier – stock.adobe.com)

An offshore wind farm is officially under construction approximately 29 miles off the Virginia Beach coast. Last week, the first monopile foundation was installed for the 2.6-gigawatt Dominion Energy wind farm.

A coalition of groups filed a lawsuit in an attempt to delay the start of construction pointing to potential harm to right whales in Virginia’s waters. However, a federal judge denied the injunction Friday in a 10-page opinion.

The monopile foundations, which are being staged at Portsmouth marine terminal, are vertical, steel cylinders that are being installed into the sea floor to support the wind turbine generators.

Dominion Energy will continue to install monopiles through the fall of 2024 and resume installations in May 2025.

Dominion Energy will halt construction of monopiles between Nov. 1 and April 30 in an effort to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale at a time when they may be migrating through the project area.

“This is a monumental day for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind team who have worked tirelessly to keep this project on budget and on schedule to provide our customers with reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy’s chair, president and chief executive officer, in a news release after the first monopile foundation was installed last week.

“We are taking extensive precautions to ensure this project is fully protective of the environment and to protect marine species,” Blue said.

The wind farm is expected to be complete in 2026. The farm will include 176 turbines that should generate enough energy to power 660,000 homes.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.