Virginia Tech works with Dominion Virginia Power to help Department of Energy launch offshore wind energy in U.S.
January 15, 2013
A Dominion Virginia Power-led team, which includes the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, is one of seven selected by the Department of Energy to receive $4 million in federal matching funds to undertake initial engineering, design, and permitting for an offshore wind turbine demonstration facility.
The Department of Energy will select up to three teams out of the seven for an additional $47 million each for actual construction and demonstration.
In its application to the Department of Energy, Dominion proposed designing, developing, and demonstrating a grid-connected, 12-megawatt offshore wind facility consisting of two Alstom six-megawatt turbines mounted on innovative foundations. Twelve megawatts would provide enough electricity for 3,000 homes at peak demand. Dominion's primary location for the demonstration project is in federal waters about 22 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, although, according to Dominion, the ultimate site will depend on detailed investigations.
Others on the Dominion team are: Alstom Power Inc., a wind turbine manufacturer and major supplier of equipment and services to the global power generation market; KBR, a global engineering, construction, and services firm with experience in offshore wind; the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
“Virginia expects to be a major player in off-shore wind energy development and Virginia Tech can contribute very significantly,” said Saifur Rahman, the Joseph R. Loring Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Advanced Research Institute.
Rahman said that for this project the institute will work closely with the Virginia Tech facility in Hampton Roads where Virginia Tech's Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in the College of Engineering has a presence and Advanced Research Institute associate George Hagerman is located. Rahman also noted that Ed Nelson, associate dean and chief of staff in the College of Engineering, and Leigh McCue-Weil, associate professor, aerospace and ocean engineering, were very supportive of the Advanced Research Institute establishing a presence in the Hampton Roads area from where support will be provided for this project.
Offshore wind represents a large, untapped energy resource for the United States -- offering over 4,000 gigawatts of clean, domestic electricity potential, four times the nation’s current total generation capacity. According to a new report commissioned by the Department of Energy, a U.S. offshore wind industry that takes advantage of this abundant domestic resource could support up to 200,000 manufacturing, construction, operation and supply chain jobs across the country and drive over $70 billion in annual investments by 2030. Offshore wind represents an economic and energy opportunity that could mirror the success of land-based wind development.