U.S. to review proposed Dominion Energy wind farm off Virginia

WASHINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. government will conduct an environmental review of a potential wind power project off the coast of Virginia, the Biden administration said on Thursday, part of an effort to create tens of thousands of jobs in the business by 2030.

Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project calls for construction and operation of up to 205 wind turbines capable of generating up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity by 2026. The turbines would be located more than 20 nautical miles off the Virginia coast.

Dominion says the project, when fully built, could power up to 660,000 homes. The Biden administration wants to develop 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, creating nearly 80,000 jobs.

“Recent technological advances, falling costs, and tremendous economic potential make offshore wind a promising avenue for diversifying our national energy portfolio, creating good-paying union jobs, and tackling climate change,” Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland said in a release.

If approved the project would generation during development and construction, an average of about 900 jobs from 2020 to 2026, with a peak of about 1,500 jobs in 2024 and 2025, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said. The project would support about 1,100 long-term jobs.

On Friday, Interior will publish a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS), which will open a public comment period until August 2. BOEM will hold three virtual public scoping meetings which will help it figure out what to analyze in the EIS.

The U.S. fishing industry has raised concerns about other offshore wind projects, causing some delays.

In May, the Biden administration said it had approved the country’s first major offshore wind farm, Vineyard Wind, off Massachusetts, billing it as the launch of a domestic industry that will help reach a goal to make the power grid carbon-free by 2035. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio)