Interior to review Va. plan to build 2 turbines

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Interior Department is reviewing a plan by Virginia to build two 6-megawatt wind turbines in federal waters off its shores, a project that aims to lower the risk of developing offshore wind farms.

The proposal by Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy would test “twisted jacket” turbine foundations that offer the strength of traditional foundations but use substantially less steel.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management tomorrow will publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on the proposal and its potential environmental impacts. It will also determine whether other groups are interested in developing the area for offshore wind research.

BOEM said Virginia has secured Army Corps of Engineers permits and met Coast Guard requirements for early work on the site and has begun wildlife, archeology, geophysical and geological surveys.

The state is partnering with Dominion Resources Inc., the state’s largest utility, on the project.

The partnership was one of seven selected by the Energy Department in December to be eligible to receive up to $168 million over the next six years for demonstration projects aimed at advancing the offshore wind industry (E&ENews PM, Dec. 12, 2012).

Each project was awarded $4 million to complete its planning and evaluation phases.