Dominion wins $47 million from DOE for offshore wind power pilot

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Dominion Virginia Power won an additional $47 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) to help fund the construction of a 12 MW offshore wind power demonstration project, consisting of two 6 MW offshore wind turbines on substructures that will produce enough electricity to power up to 3,000 homes.

"This was a highly competitive process and we thank DOE for recognizing this demonstration project is using innovative designs that will both lower the cost and lower the risk of future commercial scale offshore wind projects located in hurricane prone regions," said Mary C. Doswell, senior vice president-Retail and Alternative Energy Solutions.

DOE said that Dominion was one of three companies — out of seven finalists — to receive the additional funding.  It follows a December 2012 announcement where each of the seven finalists received an initial $4 million in federal matching funds to undertake preliminary engineering, design and permitting activities.

The Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP) will be located in federal waters about 24 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA.  Dominion and the VOWTAP team — including the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy — plan to demonstrate innovative technologies to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy.

VOWTAP will continue development efforts and plans to seek Virginia State Corporation Commission approval to have the turbines up and generating electricity in 2017. The demonstration project will be directly adjacent to the commercial area Dominion is leasing from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Dominion intends to apply the research and lessons learned from VOWTAP to the development of the commercial lease.

VOWTAP's other partners are Alstom Power Inc., a wind turbine manufacturer that will supply the turbines; KBR, a global engineering, construction, and services firm with experience in offshore wind; Keystone Engineering, the designer of the innovative substructure; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center; Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries; and the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, representing the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium.

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