(WASHINGTON) — The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently announced the approval of the nation’s fifth and sixth commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects: Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) and Empire Wind off the coast of New York and New Jersey.
The announcements support the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, following the approval of the Vineyard Wind 1, South Fork Wind, Ocean Wind 1 and Revolution Wind projects.
Located approximately 23.5 nautical miles offshore Virginia Beach, the CVOW commercial project is the largest yet, and would provide about 2,600 megawatts of clean, reliable offshore wind energy, capable of powering over 900,000 homes. The project is expected to provide about 900 jobs each year during the construction phase and support an estimated 1,100 annual jobs during the operations phase, generating vital economic development for Virginia’s Hampton Roads area and supporting investments in the Virginia coastal region as a hub for offshore wind development and support.
The announcement comes on the heels of an Oct. 27 event in Portsmouth, Va., to celebrate the arrival of the first eight monopile foundations for the CVOW project. The foundations will be staged at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal until construction begins next spring.
After considering the analysis and alternatives in the final environmental impact statement (EIS), including public comments on the draft EIS, the Interior Department has approved a combination of Alternative B and Alternative D-1, which includes up to 176 wind turbine generators, each with a capacity of 14.7 megawatts. This combination will reduce impacts to navigation and a known fish haven, allow for ocean co-use, and meet the energy needs of Virginia.
Farther northeast, Empire Wind US LLC proposes to develop two offshore wind facilities, known as Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2. The lease area is located about 12 nautical miles (nm) south of Long Island, N.Y., and about 16.9 nm east of Long Branch, N.J.
Together these projects would have up to 147 wind turbines with a total capacity of 2,076 megawatts that could power more than 700,000 homes each year. The projects would support over 830 jobs each year during the construction phase and about 300 jobs annually during the operations phase.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has held four offshore wind lease auctions, which have brought in almost $5.5 billion in high bids, including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and New Jersey and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts.
BOEM has also advanced the process to explore additional opportunities for offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine and offshore Oregon and the central Atlantic coast. The Interior Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive toward union-built projects and a domestic-based supply chain.
– Bureau of Ocean Energy Management