Additional Author Jason N. Pham
On September 29, 2023, BOEM published a Notice of Availability for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act in connection with the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Commercial Project.
The project, being developed by Dominion Energy, is a commercial-scale offshore wind energy project with a targeted 2026 completion date and could be the largest offshore wind farm in the United States and one of the largest in the world. As described in the FEIS, the project includes 176-202 wind turbines and their associated transmission facilities approximately 24 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach with the potential to generate 2,500–3,000 MW of offshore wind energy.
Dominion Energy was awarded a commercial renewable energy lease through a competitive federal leasing process and has the exclusive right to submit the construction and operations plan for activities. The project is important to Virginia's clean energy initiative as the state strives for a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as well as for the potential economic and environmental benefits. At the federal level, the project also helps move toward the shared goal of the departments of Interior, Energy and Commerce to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind in the United States by 2030 while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use.
The FEIS assesses the reasonably foreseeable impacts on physical, biological, socioeconomic, and cultural resources that could result from the construction and installation, operations and maintenance, and conceptual decommissioning of the project. The FEIS was published after a 60-day public comment period, which closed on February 14, 2023, and reflects feedback submitted by federal, tribal, state and local government agencies, local communities and ocean users, the offshore wind industry, and other stakeholders.
As described in the report, the FEIS evaluates several alternatives, including a “no-action alternative” (i.e., the project does not go forward) and four “action alternatives” (i.e., potential paths forward for the project). The action alternatives are not mutually exclusive, and BOEM may select a combination of alternatives that meet the purpose and needs of the proposed project.
The FEIS will inform BOEM’s decision on whether to approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove the project’s construction and operations plan. BOEM anticipates issuing a Record of Decision this fall.
The FEIS is available on the BOEM website.