The current population of the “Old Dominion State,” Virginia is approximately 8.57 million people. In March 2019, state utilities used natural gas (62.1%), coal (27.6%), renewable energy (7.4%) and nuclear energy (2.8%) to generate electricity. Hydropower, biomass and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Virginia.
Virginia’s reliance on inexpensive natural gas offsets the high cost of coal, which contributes to state’s below average electricity costs. In March 2019, the average cost of electricity in Virginia was U.S. 11.7 ¢ per kWh, which is the 30th most expensive price in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States is 12.5 ¢ per kWh.
Concerns over climate change have prompted the Commonwealth to develop the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan. The goals of the energy plan include:
1. Diversify Virginia’s economy by strategically growing the energy sector.
2. Innovate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy consumption throughout the Commonwealth.
3. Strengthen Virginia’s business climate by investing in reliable and resilient energy infrastructure.
4. Prepare Virginia’s workforce to drive the energy economy into the future.
The Virginia General Assembly also created the Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Development Authority to facilitate and support the development of the offshore wind industry and wind-powered electric energy facilities located off Virginia’s coast.
Dominion Energy has recently announced that construction has commenced at the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project. The 12 MW offshore wind project is being jointly developed by Dominion Energy and Ørsted. The CVOW is located approximately 27 miles off the coastal city of Virginia Beach and is scheduled to commence operation in 2020.
Dominion Energy, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia supplies electricity to customers in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Dominion also has power generation facilities in Indiana, Illinois, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Ørsted, headquartered in Fredericia, Denmark develops, constructs and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, bioenergy plants and innovative waste-to-energy systems.
States along the eastern seaboard are in a race to develop offshore wind energy. Why? Economics pure and simple. Numerous, major offshore wind projects are being planned from Maine to Virginia. States are looking for their ports to become the major operational hubs to support the new offshore wind farms. The offshore wind farms will also replace outdated, expensive coal-fueled power plants.
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