RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion (NYSE: D) has received a two-year, $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to look for ways to reduce the cost of offshore wind electricity generation by at least 25 percent.
"One of the biggest challenges to off-shore wind generation is bringing down the cost so it can be more competitive with other forms of electric power generation," said Mary C. Doswell, senior vice president-Alternative Energy Solutions. "The intent of the project is to achieve at least 25 percent reduction in the levelized cost of energy relative to a benchmark 600-megawatt power station design by integrating innovations in turbine, foundation, installation and electrical infrastructure into the most optimal combination."
The grant is one of 41 projects across 20 states totaling $43 million over the next five years that the DOE announced on Sept. 8 to speed technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems. (See the DOE news release at: http://www.doe.gov/articles/department-energy-awards-43-million-spur-offshore-wind-energy)
Dominion's partners in its project are the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute in Arlington, Va.; the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory; ALSTOM Power, an international provider of vital equipment and services for the U.S. power generation markets with a turbine engineering, manufacturing and service center in Richmond; and Moffatt & Nichol, an international maritime engineering firm specializing in structural design, ocean engineering, ports, harbors and marine terminals with local offices in Richmond and Norfolk, Va.
The Dominion-led team will utilize an integrated systems approach for optimizing the hypothetical design of a 600-megawatt offshore wind project located at a variety of reference sites on the Virginia Outer Continental Shelf, as well as other sites on the U.S. Atlantic coastline from Massachusetts through South Carolina, with a foundation and support substructure suitable for installation in water depths ranging from 10 meters to 60 meters.
Dominion also is studying what it would take to build a high-voltage underwater transmission line extending from Virginia Beach out to the potential commercial lease area in the Atlantic Ocean. Dominion plans to complete the study this year, evaluating options to best support multiple offshore wind projects off the coast of Virginia.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 28,200 megawatts of generation, 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,300 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com