VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia is in the race to be a leader in offshore wind energy in the United States. Dominion Energy has plans for an $8-billion offshore wind project in the next few years.

“We are going to the coast of Virginia’s offshore wind pilot project,” said Dominion Energy Project Manager Lloyd Eley.

Thursday morning, engineers and scientists from Dominion and Old Dominion University boarded a boat at the Virginia Aquarium to head 27 miles off the coast.

“It’s a perfect day to go out,” Eley added.

Dominion Energy teamed up with Old Dominion to build and study two offshore wind turbines.

“Old Dominion University is a maritime university,” said ODU Executive Director of Programs and Partnerships Paul Olsen. “We are very focused on maritime skills and maritime education.”

Dominion built the 600-foot-high turbines and ODU is looking at the data. The goal is to have another source of future energy.

“Hampton Roads is really relying on one or two initial sources of energy both nuclear and fossil fuels,” Olsen added. “Offshore wind along with solar will diversify our energy portfolio.”

Soon, 200 more wind turbines will join the two. Dominion will start construction in 2024 and they should be operational two years later.

“It’s a very exciting moment,” Eley said. “I know the team has worked really hard with construction and managing of the logistics, the schedule and the budget especially in the midst of a pandemic. We are able to collect lessons learned for both the permitting side as well as the engineering, design and construction.”

ODU just won a $775,000 grant from the Department of Defense to continue the development and implementation of offshore wind technology.

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