Statement: Fed govt. approves nation’s largest wind farm off Virginia’s coast

Media Contacts

Johanna Neumann

Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Environment America Research & Policy Center

RICHMOND, Va. — The U.S. Department of the Interior approved the building of the nation’s largest wind farm on Tuesday. Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project will include up to 176 turbines, located roughly 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The project is the largest offshore wind project in the United States approved to date. Dominion says once the project is completed in 2026, it is expected to produce enough electricity to power 660,000 homes.

As part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to have the United States use 100% clean energy sources by 2035 to generate power, his administration has set a goal of getting 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy online by 2030. To date, the Department of the Interior has approved four New England-based projects (Vineyard Wind 1, South Fork Wind, Ocean Wind 1 and Revolution Wind) that, together with the new Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, promise to deliver 5 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 1.75 million average homes. A total of more than 51 gigawatts of wind power capacity is in the works off U.S. shores and the most ambitious 10 coastal states have combined offshore wind goals of generating more than 81 gigawatts. 

Virginia has a goal of 5.2 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity. The commonwealth’s offshore wind technical potential is the equivalent of 137% of its 2019 electricity usage and 73% of 2050 electricity usage with full electrification of the economy. 

In response to this announcement: Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center State Director Elly Boehmer released the following statement:

“Global warming impacts everyone and the Southeast is particularly vulnerable, with sea levels rising and extreme weather. We are thrilled to see this project approved to further establish this region as an offshore wind and renewable energy leader. 

“In 2020, Virginia became the seventh state in the country to commit to 100% clean energy by mid-century with the passing of the Virginia Clean Economy Act. To achieve this goal as fast as possible, we need to invest in clean, renewable energy. Spurring the development of offshore wind is essential. We applaud the approval of this project as it moves Virginia closer to our commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy — the most important action we can take to protect our climate.” 

Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Senior Director for 100% Renewable Energy Johanna Neumann released the following statement:

“The sooner America taps its offshore wind resources, the better for our health, our environment and future generations. Virginia’s offshore continental shelf is a blustery place. By placing 176 turbines where ocean winds are strong and consistent, this project will produce enough electricity to power more than 600,000 homes, day in and day out. We don’t have to drill or mine for wind. It just shows up, every day, for free.”