Virginia House and Senate passed new energy legislation earlier this week
(11 February 2020) which replaces the existing voluntary Renewable Energy
Portfolio System (RPS) programme with a mandatory RPS that applies to electric
utilities and licensed competitive suppliers. The new legislation, titled
Virginia Clean Economy Act, sets requirements for 30% clean energy by 2030
and 73% by 2035, with the end-line of 100% renewables by 2050.
The Act includes a commitment to 5.2 GW of offshore wind by 2034, doubling
the current anticipated pipeline. The legislation mandates that a Phase
II utility such as Richmond headquartered energy and power company Dominion
Energy will commission 2.6 GW by 2030 and implement an additional 2.6 GW
In the latter half of 2019, Dominion Energy filed an interconnection request
with regional transmitter PJM for a 2.6 GW project to be built across three
880 MW phases of between 2024 and 2026. This is the largest proposed offshore
wind project in the US to date. Dominion Energy, in partnership with Ørsted,
is also in the process of building the state’s first project, the 12 MW
Virginia Offshore Wind
pilot project (CVOW) due to be completed in 2021.
The newly passed legislation also commits to ‘planning and development
activities for a new utility-owned and utility-operated generating facility’
of 5 GW source form renewable energy.
With House and Senate
approvals, the legislation will be passed to Virginia Governor Northam
for his signature.
Governor Northam, an advocate for offshore wind, recently announced a Bill
(HB234) which would release funds of $275,000 to be allocated in 2021 and
2022 for the establishment of an Office of Offshore Wind within the Division
of Energy to support the state’s offshore wind activities. The authority
would be tasked to develop and coordinate stakeholder engagement strategy,
identify and address regulatory barriers, and coordinate state agency activities
in support of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority. Bill HB234,
currently waiting to pass through the Senate.
Northam also recently announced a $40 million upgrade to the Portsmouth
Marine Terminal to prepare it for offshore wind in the early years of the
decade. Danish offshore wind giant Ørsted, which partnered with Dominion
for the 12 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot – but not for subsequent
phases – has signed an agreement to lease part of the terminal for offshore
wind staging materials and equipment until at least 2026.
For more information on wind farm developments, click
for our interactive map of offshore wind farms, infrastructure and ports.