Virginia To Get Large-Scale Wind Farm

If you go about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia, you’ll find two windmills jutting up out of the sea. Two windmills aren’t particularly interesting until you realize that these two are on the edge of a 2,100-acre lease that Dominion Energy is placing in Federal water. According to the company, those two will be joined by 176 more windmills on a nearly 113,000-acre adjacent lease. The project has been in the planning and pilot phase for a while, but it was recently given the green light by the US government. You can see a promotional video about the project below. There’s also a video of the first monopiles — the mounts for the windmills — arriving in the area.

The project will eventually have three offshore substations that feed the power to the state military reservation and, from there, to Naval Air Station Oceania, where it feeds the commercial power grid. The final project will power 660,000 homes.

The schedule calls for full operation by 2026. The project will cost roughly 10 billion dollars. Upon completion, they estimate the project will produce 9.5 million megawatt-hours per year. We still had a few questions. Why put substations offshore? What happens when a hurricane comes? They say they will survive a category 2 hurricane with wind speeds between 96 and 110 miles per hour. But, of course, hurricanes can be more powerful than that.

Still, this will be a project where success may lead to more offshore wind energy in the US. If it isn’t successful, of course, it may inhibit future projects. Something to watch.

Want more technical details about wind turbines? We got you. Of course, you don’t just have to generate the power. You have to get it on the grid, which is another problem.

89 thoughts on “Virginia To Get Large-Scale Wind Farm

    1. There are ways of mitigating the impact, some studies suggest (more data is needed) that simply painting a single blade a different color can help significantly. But if you’re worried about birds, traditional fuels have an even larger impact: wind kills an estimated 328,000 birds, while coal is estimated to kill around 7.9 million

        1. Nuclear power has fewer impact (less death per year), but much greater danger (if things start to go wrong, it goes very wrong).

          A different compromise I guess!

          Fukushima premiered the use of salt water for cool down, and make a dry vent of the containment vessel around the reactor if the pressure goes too high. A good thing I guess!

          After electricity ran out due to the tsunami, the army, at last, tried to use a helicopter to pour water from the sea down the reactor. It did not help. A concrete pump truck from a nearby entrepreneur is the only thing that could bring the water brought by the tsunami itself (the sea was too far to reach).

          If that pump stopped to work, the situation would have been going all the way back to the middle of the crisis. So nearby countries provided a supply of such pump trucks.

          Water or electricity or control systems going down for hours can turn in a regional/national/international disaster. Quite the captivating engineering topic on safety-critical systems!

          It is not the statistics that are the problem, it’s the probabilities: how probable to have a stable economical/political/military/ecological context for many years around a nuclear power plant, and survive to natural disasters.

          The event of combined with could have lead Europe to a new nuclear disaster. So we cannot claim that we have that context yet everywhere.

          At least, I know I do not have that geopolitical context in my region:

          Though, most nuclear power plant go fine and have no serious incidents

          I do not know what to think about them as I am stuck in a conflict of interest! :D

          1. A nuclear core breakdown, with repeated hydrogen explosions as a consequence, the army failing to provide a solution to bring water with helicopter, and the solution only stabilizing after a local entrepreneur provides a pump truck to pump water that fell by chance into a nearby hole…

            That is 0 proven casualties by the nuclear accident, but I still call that “very wrong”. Or I do not understand “safety”.

            Letting the reactive core melt is simply not an option. It is fought at all costs.

            The costs are high even when the risks are low.

            > In May 2022, EDF reported[4] that twelve reactors were shut down and being inspected for stress corrosion, requiring EDF to adjust its French nuclear output estimate for 2022 to 280–300 TWh; the estimate of the impact of the decrease in output on the Group’s EBITDA for 2022 was assessed to be -€18,5 billion.

            No death toll, but still many precautions, sometimes unanticipated by the energy providers.

            If we go ahead towards more nuclear power plants, we will face more challenges related safety.

            If we can use nuclear safely, this is a big win, as this is about the only drawback about it. And it starts by doing the opposite of ignoring the dangers.

    2. Ah yes lets save the birds,

      Over 320,00 are estimated to die due to Wind Turbines,

      Entrapment, Entanglement = more than wind less than Fossil Fuels
      Fossil fuel pits and pond =750,000
      Communications towers = 6,600,000
      Power lines = 39,950,000
      Toxins = 70,000,000
      Vehicles = 200,000,000
      Buildings = 675,500,000
      Window = 800,000,000
      Domestic Cats = 2,400,000,000 – 2,650,000,000

      And what about all the nuclear accidents and waste?

      Wind is the best way forward at this point for long term environmental safety.

      1. No. Nuclear and Solar are. Per terrawatt-hour, solar is the ONLY energy solution that is safer than nuclear. (And yes, that data includes the nuclear disasters). Now, that being said, Wind is _just_ behind nuclear in safety and definitely has a place. The way forward is waaaaay more nuclear, supplemented by solar and wind. Hopefully by the time we start running out of fissile fuel, we’ve figured out fusion. Source for the data:

        1. You’re saying no birds got roasted by flying through solar farm? Some of them uses mirror to concentrate light onto one spot on the tower to generate heat and if an unlucky bird were flying at just the right spot over the farm and near the tower, instant KFC

          Solar panels you’re probably talking about are the ones that absorbs light into energy without mirror and those are safer for just about any lifeforms.

          1. Concentrated solar like you are talking about above don’t have much of a future anyhow. Those power plants are turbines powered by solar energy heating water, or some intermediary, and creating steam. The worst possible thing you can do is turn a steam turbine off and on, which solar necessitates. Starting the turbines back up in the AM can take hours.

            Even if you do short term heat storage to keep steam flowing overnight, the losses from that process wipe out any efficiency gains from concentrated solar.

            The maintenance of the steam turbines is also outrageously expensive in manpower, materials and time you aren’t producing electricity. Overall they just aren’t economically viable.

            On the other hand, PV Solar produces electricity cheaper than anything except Nuclear (in the long run), requires no on site management and little maintenance except cleaning the panels and preventing bushes from growing. I manage the data systems that control roughly 300 solar PV sites and one concentrated solar plant that we will never, ever do again.

    3. Yeah, but here’s the thing.

      I spent much of my youth in a coal mining region of Appalachia, only a few hundred miles from where this wind farm is going in, so I have firsthand experience with the alternative to green energy.

      I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say that, in my humble, non-expert opinion, after living in the middle of hundreds of square miles of verdant hillsides and babbling streams that had been turned into barren, acidified, moonscape I felt it was is not especially optimal for birds, either.

    4. Your points are utterly invalid, so not really anything to protect us from. Typical turbine uses 80 gallons of oil every 5-7years. There’s probably more oil change occurring in your work car park in 6 months. And extracting it to land and recycling it is normal process for any developed country, I’m sure the US can cope.

    5. Hackaday’s comments are stored in the world’s worst steaming POS database.
      MySQL likes to party like it’s 1989, routine reindexing is just what’s done. Soon it will be as good as DBase3+. Good enough for wordpress.

      They treat our comments as virtually worthless! Not the priceless jewels of ageless wisdom that they are.

      1. Not that are evident in Europe. Sure some of the very early models were (obviously) early models with weaknesses that need solving, but do you honestly believe this narrative? Help me understand your sources and reasoning.

  1. 27 miles off shore is that the politically connected, rich ocean-front mansion owners along the coast can’t see the turbines. They are hidden by the curvature of the Earth.

    This area can potentially get Cat5 hurricanes. One hit nearby in 1938.

    1. Sound thinking to put energy resources out where they can be easily sabotaged if a general war breaks out… Just thinking ahead.

      Who wants to look at wind mills anyway? Used to have nice sky lines in our state, now you see these ugly wind mills sticking up into the sky when you travel around… and solar panels…. Seems like we are going backwards instead of forward when it comes to energy resources…. All because we have some that think like Chicken Little ” the sky is falling “.

      1. >Sound thinking to put energy resources out where they can be easily sabotaged if a general war breaks out… Just thinking ahead.

        You did catch the whole “feed the power to the STATE MILITARY RESERVATION and, from there, to NAVAL AIR STATION Oceania” part?

        Even without that bit, 27 miles off the US coast is probably safer than 27 miles inland. We do a pretty damn good job of monitoring, patrolling, and defending our coastline.

        1. >We do a pretty damn good job of monitoring, patrolling, and defending our coastline.

          Tell that to the folks in Southern California and Texas where the Feds have been busy tearing up Important border fencing until ordered by a federal court to stop. Although admittedly, the Feds now are rebuilding the fence as they tore down (your tax dolllars at work) to impede the 4 million/year “immigrants”.

          1. Tell what to the folks in Southern California and Texas?

            >We do a pretty damn good job of monitoring, patrolling, and defending our COASTLINE.

            The bit you latched onto but didnt comprehend was preceded by….

            >27 miles OFF the US coast is probably safer than 27 miles INLAND

            Now to clarify my words meaning,

            It easy walk on ground to break and bash stuff. Land have many people. Land have much hiding places.
            It hard to be sneaky on open sea. LOTS of tech watching and listening for bad stuffs.

            and to help you reestablish your lost connection to the plot..

            The only border wall removals that have happened since Biden took office are Arizonas idiotic ineffective shipping container stack and the removal of Texas’ unauthorized illegally deployed Home Alone style floating barrier of razor wire and saw blades from the rio grande.
            The TEMPORARY restraining order you think of as a victory for national security isnt even about a wall. Its about the CBP cutting and removal of razor wire barriers strung by the texas state militia along eagle pass. This isnt a USSC order, its a bush appointed federal judge pumping his party by pissing around and stalling the ACTUAL federal government by holding a hearing to have reality explained to his constituency by people educated outside of texas as their own braintrust has gone bankrupt

            > In areas like Eagle Pass, Texas, the concertina wire is placed on the northern and U.S. side of the Rio Grande River, which means migrants who reach it are ALREADY ON U.S. SOIL and legally allowed to enter through for apprehension and processing.
            >”You find actually, a lot of the actual wall structures in Texas are well within U.S. territory. Even for the portion from the international boundary line, up to that wall, anyone standing in that area has equal rights under the law to seek asylum as someone standing north of whatever boundary line,” said Elissa Steglich, a clinical professor and co-director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law.

            In the future, maybe keep your flailing and wailing on reddit and 4chan where it belongs.

          2. >We do a pretty damn good job of monitoring, patrolling, and defending our COASTLINE.

            The border with mexico is NOT a coastline.

            No news article on google supports your interpretation of events on the border anyway. Not sure where youre getting your info or why you felt this was the forum to trumpet this in.

      2. 9-11 and covid no flights proved the presence of jet contrail’s effects on weather. 40 years ago a study was concerned over the loss of sunlight on midwest crops by the highest overflight area on earth centered on Ohare Chicago. That was before all of this wind and solar.

        One of the biggest wind farms anywhere is just visible north of me. What is disgusting is that they have synced lights on every one of them. The wind farms should be “marked” on every flight that is ever able to come near one of them. Why do the rest of us have to see that mess of lights? Quit scribbling and blinking on our skies. Most days I see the sky-slugs mess on what would be a clear sky. Photovoltaic takes a hit form this.

    2. No, the turbines will be visible.
      Going by the blue sign in the link, the turbine is around 490 feet high with a total height of 837 feet with the blades sweeping area. Don’t forget your own height together with the height of the beach or house above the sea.
      You will just see the warning light over 27 miles away so I wonder why the hell they did not move one or two more mile out just to be sure?

    1. If you have enough nuclear to cover when wind is offline – then don’t build wind.
      Even the maintenance cost of wind is higher than the cost of uranium – not to speak of building them.
      I wonder how many homes 10B$ worth of nuclear can power.. all the time.

    1. Ohhh yes, follow the money. All the green people seem to know where tax dollars can be snapped up … until the bubble pops, then off to something else to milk :) . I often wonder what protesters do for a living to find the time to ‘protest’…. Anyway… We have that here with superfund sites. The project(s) will never complete unless the money dries up. Always finding new ways to scare the public into thinking ‘we need this’ and find ways to fund another project.

      1. This article suggests that the kind of corruption would not happen by taking the money instead of building the plant, but through selecting which company is being given the project:

        > favor the formation of criminal associations between entrepreneurs and politicians able to **influence the licensing process** [emphasis mine]

        With a bit of luck, this means that while corruption might happen, it still leads to wind turbines.

        Good to have a close eye on the environmental impact too! As we rely on the sea ecosystem for food, oxygen (more than trees ) among other things.

      1. Boomers and luddites have nothing to do with it. These projects are just boondoggles that make no economical sense, and people are right to point out the folly.

        10 billion dollars for 9.5 million megawatt-hours per year, adjusted by 3% yearly upkeep costs over 20 years means the energy cost is $95/MWh which is over twice the average wholesale cost of electricity on the grid. That’s a super optimistic estimate assuming minimal upkeep cost and no budget-overruns in construction.

        1. Wholesale electricity at $40/MWh average?
          Capital should be stampeding there, like it was a…

          Bootleg ’emergency’ diesel gensets, if nothing else. Hide them in the warehouse, next door to your energy intensive business.

          1. > Wholesale electricity at $40/MWh average?
            > Where?

            I was curios about that. Turns out NY state where they are seeing $42.96/MWh [1]. Although it seems their costs have almost doubled YoY, so who knows where that is heading in the long them.

            A counter point could be Texas state wide average peaked in Aug at $1600+/MWh [2]. Although Texas is used to much lower prices in general.



  2. Wow, the trolls and bots trying to shill for fossil fuels are out in force. It feels stupid to even have to say it but pay no attention to the concern trolls.

    The climate has changed and continues to from our actions. We need more carbon neutral energy and wind farms are good steps.

      1. Seems the author claims climate change is real and fossil fuel usage is partly responsible. They also seem heavily influenced by big energy / fossil fuel industry, so safe to assume they (just as green washers do) are pushing biased narrative.

        Is that what passes as education for yourself?

      2. I work for one of the largest energy producers in North America. We gave up on fossil fuel plants years ago and I will promise you that it had nothing with saving the planet. Our management would burn puppies if it made cheap electricity.

        The reason is simple, when you take everything into account, site management, maintenance, efficiency, etc.. Both Solar PV sites and Wind Turbine sites, with a handful of power leveling battery sites, produce far cheaper, more reliable power than any form of fossil fuel we have.

        Fossil based power isn’t coming back. Aside from a handful of Nat Gas based Peaker Power Plants, ones that spin up when we can sell power at high market rates, we are just waiting for them to lifecycle out.

    1. Here’s the owner of the project, a bit of light reading:

      Refusing to shill for greenwashing is not the same as shilling for fossil fuels. In fact a lot of these projects are funded and owned by certain multinationals which are trying to diversify investments in fossil fuels yet keep their cozy state-subsidized operation milked. Do you really believe that they are doing it because they have learned their lesson and seen the light? That’s on you.

      The concept of “carbon footprint” was developed by a PR firm hired by British Petroleum, for God’s sake. To conjure up a market of “sustainable” commodity-crap to make money off of, and (more importantly) to finger the average human being as the perpetrator of pollution instead of British Petroleum. Get smart, of course the same people who caused the problem are going to sneak in and try to run their P.T. Barnum show on the suckers from the opposite end too. There is a ton of money to be made here. Wind power is hot garbage, sorry.

  3. Anything to avoid reducing our population and energy usage, I guess. Can’t wait until every square inch of the earth is devoted to generating electricity to power the funko pop and smartphone factories.

  4. A good thing with them being 27 miles offshore: When they inevitably fail and turn into ugly rusting abandoned hulks owned by a bankrupt shell company, nobody’s going to see them and care about them needing to be cleaned up.

    1. You have documented rusting, abandoned wind farms all over America, right? If Dominion Energy turns into a bankrupt shell company, rusting hulks will be the least of Virginia’s worries.

      1. Dominion Energy will not turn into a bankrupt shell company because they have a nearly unlimited ability to pass any costs on to the rate payers. As one of their ratepayers I am not thrilled about that.

        I want cheap, reliable energy. If offshore wind is is the best way to get that, fine. The need for mandates, subsidies, and above market rate long term power contracts for offshore wind to be competitive strongly suggests that it is not.

      2. Kamaoa. Has since been cleaned up, but was an eyesore for quite a while. Kind of off the beaten track, so only the locals and a few tourists cared.

        San Gorgonio. Not remotely off the beaten track, has a long history of rotting hulks sitting in the desert, and many more better looking but still non-functional. At least this site is being actively maintained, being in such public view. Even has its own PR department.

        And Dominion Energy won’t be holding those turbines when they are end of life. It will be (probably already is) a separate company expressly conceived to hold those assets. There’s ample precedent for this. Heck, Dominion Energy Virginia is already a separate company, wholely-owned by Dominion Energy, and *it* (not Dominion Energy) runs the power plants, is liable for damages, and pays the fines. The owners (Dominion Energy’s shareholders) are arms-length, not liable, and laugh all the way to the bank.

  5. 10 BILLION DOLLARS for a 1 gigawatt power plant, that’s also dependent on things being windy??

    How can that make any financial sense?? (Oh wait, it’s our tax dollars at work…)

    I’d much rather have a 1 GW nuclear power plant that has dependable output. And those things are a lot cheaper unless built in NIMBY states.

    1. Build cost is about the same as a 1GW nuclear plant, that’s for sure. Only the nuclear plant has more safety risks, more fuel costs and something called decomissioning which is another half a billion at the end and in the middle you have to store and treat a ton of waste. Don’t get me wrong, I think nuclear is a valid option, but don’t be fooled by the basic metrics, dig deeper.

    2. Rule of Thumb on large construction projects: roughly one death per billion dollars of project cost.

      FWIW, that number has steadily increased over the years, whether through better safety standards or simply inflation is debatable.

  6. Not sure why hackaday persists with these non-hack posts which inevitably just descend into political fighting in the comments section. This post doesn’t even have any real information about the engineering involved.

    1. That’s a good point, let’s look at these turbines.

      This does not tell what turbine model was selected for this new project. Maybe a revision of the existing Siemens Gamesa series.

      This would be a Type-4 “direct drive” with no gearbox? This might cannot be the simple diode rectifier circuit for AC-DC conversion found in textbooks? Has someone with a bit more power electronic background than me have some search terms to bootstrap some digging?

  7. Well, posts about renewable energy certainly bring the crazies out of the woodwork in the comments section don’t they?

    HaD desperately needs a StackOverflow style upvote/downvote for comments rather than just whoever gets in first is most prominent.

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