Today the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, joined by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Senator Tim Kaine, announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is initiating an environmental review of Dominion Energy’s new 2,600 megawatt offshore wind project.
“As Virginia transitions to zero-carbon electricity with last year’s transformative passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Dominion’s pursuit of offshore wind is an important part of the Commonwealth’s comprehensive response to climate change,” says SELC General Counsel David Carr.
But to successfully harness the power of wind, however, offshore projects must be developed responsibly to minimize harm to marine mammals like the endangered North Atlantic right whale, or to wetlands that provide our coastal communities with crucial protection from flooding.
Adds Carr, “Any large-scale energy project, including offshore wind, must mitigate its environmental impact to the greatest extent possible, and we expect that Dominion will take the necessary steps to protect the Commonwealth’s resources — and taxpayers’ dollars — as Virginia transitions to a solely renewable portfolio by 2050.”
SELC will be closely reviewing Dominion’s proposed construction plans and transmission routes for its offshore wind project to ensure they avoid and minimize environmental impacts and include effective mitigation.
“We’ll also be pushing to make sure the costs associated with this project are reasonable amid projected decreases in the price of wind power,” says Carr. “We believe the future of wind is bright in Virginia, and we look forward to responsible renewable development of all kinds."