Construction work on the second offshore wind farm in the U.S. has been completed, with its two turbines installed and plans for a much larger project continuing to take shape.
In an announcement Monday, Dominion Energy said that the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project — a two-turbine, 12-megawatt (MW) facility — had been "built safely and on schedule despite the worldwide impact from the coronavirus pandemic."
The company added that the project, which is located in waters 27 miles off Virginia Beach, would "enter service later this summer." At its "peak output" the facility will be able to power 3,000 homes in Virginia.
Thomas F. Farrell, II, the chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Energy, described the construction of the project's turbines as "a major milestone not only for offshore wind in Virginia but also for offshore wind in the United States."
The pilot scheme is acting as something of a pathfinder for the proposed 2,640 MW Dominion Energy Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project.
Construction work on this large-scale development is slated to begin in 2024 and it looks set to use huge turbines from Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. According to Dominion Energy, it will be able to power as many as 650,000 homes.
The U.S. offshore wind sector is still in the early stages of its development and has some way to go before it catches up with other parts of the world.
The country's first offshore facility, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, only commenced commercial operations in 2016.
European countries, by contrast, installed just over 3.6 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity last year, according to industry body WindEurope, with overall offshore capacity for European nations now more than 22 GW.
America's offshore wind market is also minuscule compared to its onshore sector, where capacity is now greater than 100 GW.