VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WDVM) — Virginia is leading the way in offshore wind with the recent installation of the first two turbines in federal waters off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Over the summer, Dominion finished its installation of two turbines as a pilot for the commercial project that will begin construction in 2024.

“They are 26 miles off the coast of Virginia…and I’m pleased to report that they are spinning and generating electricity even as we speak,” said Chief Deputy of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), Jennifer Palestrant.

“We were able to learn a lot of valuable information with the permitting, the design, the installation,” said Dominion media and communications specialist, Jeremy Slayton.

Dominion also has learned about the operation of the turbines, which Slayton said will really pay off when they begin the larger project, which is their current focus.

“So the next stage is the commercial project and that’s the big project. Now that won’t start putting steel in the water until probably 2024. It will take us that long to get through the permitting process, you know, construction, all of those kinds of things,” stated Palestrant.

Dominion expects to have their plan in by the end of the month, allowing the lengthy permitting process to begin.

“We are on target to submit our construction and operations plan to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management by the end of this year,” said Slayton.

The project isn’t cheap, but will pay off in the long run by bringing carbon-free energy to Virginia.

“There will be a balancing out. So while we’re, you know, doing all of this upfront investing, it will substantially cut back on the amount of coal, gas natural gas. So we lose all of that expense, we get a much, much healthier environment, which helps with our public health costs,” expressed Palestrant.

According to Glen Allen-based Mangum Economics, “It is estimated that the CVOW commercial project could create approximately 900 jobs and $143 million in economic impact annually during construction and 1,100 jobs and almost $210 million in economic impact annually during operation of the turbines.”

Skilled workers are needed, with not all jobs requiring a four-year degree. If you’re interested in becoming a wind trained technician, click here to learn more.

For businesses interested or preparing to work on a Dominion Energy project, there will be virtual Supplier Readiness meetings on December 9, 15, and 16.