RICHMOND, Virginia: Dominion Energy Virginia has received state approval to build an enormous offshore wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach.
During reviews by regulatory agencies, no participants had objected to plans for the wind farms, said state officials. There were concerns, though, whether the wind farms would ultimately raise energy bills for consumers.
In approving the proposal, Virginia's State Corporation Commission noted that the 176-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project will likely be among the largest energy projects in Virginia's history.
Also approved was the construction of infrastructure to link the wind farms to the state's existing transmission system.
The construction is expected to cost $9.8 billion.
"As the largest offshore wind project in the country, this project is a critical piece of our clean energy transition because it complements solar by generating power at night when the sun isn't shining," said Will Cleveland of the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Of note, officials said they expect that over the wind farm's projected 35-year lifetime, a typical residential customer is expected to see an average monthly bill increase of $4.72, with a peak monthly bill increase of $14.22 in 2027.
"To be clear, total project costs, including financing costs, less investment tax credits, are estimated to be approximately $21.5 billion on a Virginia-jurisdictional basis, assuming such costs are reasonable and prudent. And all of these costs ... will find their way into ratepayers electric bills in some manner," the state agency said.
Meanwhile, Dominion said the project is expected to save Virginia customers more than $3 billion during its first 10 years of operation.
The project is set to be completed and operating by 2026.