After seeing a map of offshore wind potential, Virginia does not reach out as a prime candidate for the limited climate dollars available. However, as seen at the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, there are a number of benefits to expand offshore wind to the Chesapeake Bay area surround Norfolk & Newport News.
The natural bay also has the inherent advantage of being near a major population hub in Virginia. During construction; parts, labor, and equipment can be brought in via the area’s abundance of transportation networks: highways, airports, train yards, and ports. Additionally, through the Naval shipyards in the Norfolk/Newport News area, there is already a network of trained and experienced offshore construction workers established in the area.
However, costs are still high. The majority of the price of the proposed offshore wind project is made up of the costs of Turbines (~66%), underwater Power Cables (~15%), and the Monopiles that hold up the turbines (~12%).
The Levelized Costs of Electricity are $105 to $130 MWh, compare that to Natural Gas, $80 to $100, or Coal, $85 to $100.
Based on previous offshore wind projects, a Pricewater House Cooper survey showed that the vast majority of offshore wind projects met and exceeded their Cost of Capital and posted a Post-Tax IRR of around 10 to 15%.