Enlarge / An image of an offshore wind turbine, from Dong Energy. (credit: Dong Energy)
This week, Virginia utility Dominion announced that it would partner with Danish firm Dong Energy to build two offshore wind turbines as test cases for a commercial-sized installation.
Currently, the US only has one 30MW commercial offshore wind farm off Block Island in Rhode Island. Renewable energy proponents have sought to expand offshore wind’s reach for years in the hope it would re-create the low-cost energy boom that has occurred in the US with onshore wind.
The offshore resource has a lot of promise—turbines can be built bigger out at sea, so they can generate more power, and wind is generally less variable.
But building offshore wind infrastructure is still expensive; it’s new territory for US contractors.
Few utilities have experience managing offshore wind energy. Partnering with Dong Energy will bring some expertise across the pond—the company has constructed many large offshore wind installations in Europe, and it even submitted a subsidy-free bid to German energy regulators for a new installation to go up in 2020.
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