Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP)
View current activities map
On March 24, 2016, BOEM announced it approved the Research Activities Plan (RAP) for the first wind energy research lease in U.S. federal waters, which was issued to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). The RAP was developed by DMME’s Operator Virginia Electric and Power Company (dba Dominion) and describes the proposed construction, operation, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning of the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP).
BOEM's approval package also approves DNV GL as the Certified Verification Agent and grants the project easement requested in the RAP. The RAP approval allows for the installation and operation of two 6-MW turbines and associated cabling to shore pending final engineering review. For more information, click on the link below.
In 2012 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding awards for seven proposed "Offshore Wind Demonstration Projects." One of the monetary awards was given to Dominion Resources, Inc., which partnered with DMME and others to establish the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP). This was also one of three projects to receive a second funding award from DOE in 2014 for deployment activities. This project is located on the OCS offshore Virginia, to the west of the commercial WEA.
- The purpose of these monetary awards is to enhance the deployment of stronger, more efficient offshore wind energy technologies - thereby helping to further lower costs and drive greater performance.
- The Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Mines Minerals and Energy, submitted a research lease application to BOEM on February 8, 2013 for the installation and operation of two 6-megawatt (MW) turbines, ancillary metocean facilities, a meteorological tower or buoy and installation of associated cabling to shore outside of the Virginia WEA.
- The nomination requests six specific aliquots (i.e., sub-blocks) in OPD NJ18-11 Currituck Sound Blocks 6061 and 6111.
BOEM’s Request for Competitive Interest
On July 30, 2013, BOEM published a "Public Notice of an Unsolicited Request for an OCS Research Lease, Request for Competitive Interest, and Request for Public Comment" in the Federal Register for a 30-day comment period to obtain public input on a research proposal received from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME), its potential environmental consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposed project would be located. The notice published under Docket ID BOEM-2013-0020. BOEM also asked whether there were other entities interested in obtaining a renewable energy lease of the same scale within the same area identified by DMME that would support potential wind energy development. The notice described potential leasing in six sub-blocks on the western edge of the Virginia Wind Energy Area (WEA). Materials related to the RFCI are below:
Determination of Noncompetitive Interest
The public comment period in response to the Federal Register Notice closed on August 29, 2013. BOEM received five comments in response to the Notice, none of which expressed competitive interest in the area proposed by DMME. The comments are available here. Accordingly, BOEM published a “Determination of No Competitive Interest ” in the Federal Register on Dec. 09, and will proceed with the leasing process on a non-competitive basis. The decision clears the way for DMME to submit a plan for renewable research activities for which BOEM will prepare a project-specific environmental review with opportunities for public input.
Research Activities Plan
A Research Activities Plan was submitted by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to BOEM for the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Assessment Project (VOWTAP)
The plan details the VOWTAP proposed location and schedule and includes resource and assessment information and data collected to date in support of the planned design, construction, installation operation and maintenance of two 6MW turbines offshore Virginia. The plan also provides information related to the installation of approximately 27 nautical miles of submarine transmission cable as well as other ancillary facilities and improvements to terrestrial substations required to support the VOWTAP project.
The research lease issued to DMME was considered under BOEM’s Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and EA for Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, which can be found by clicking here.
On March 13, 2014, BOEM announced that it would be seeking public comment on the research activities plan as it prepares an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze potential impacts from proposed wind energy research activities offshore Virginia. For more information, click here.
On Dec.1, 2014, BOEM announced the publication of its environmental assessment (EA) for public review and comment. BOEM considered all comments received and, on September 28, 2015, made available a revised EA for the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP). As a result of the analysis in the revised EA, BOEM issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI), which concluded that reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences associated with VOWTAP would not significantly impact the environment. For more information, click on the links below.
On March 24, 2015, BOEM announced it has executed the first wind energy research lease in U.S. federal waters with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). To read the announcement, click here.
Click on the links below to view the executed lease and DMME’s designation of Virginia Electric and Power Company as lease operator.