The Frightful Cost of Virginia Offshore Wind

By Steve Goreham

On November 6, Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) regulatory agency approved a project to construct wind turbines near Virginia Beach. The plan calls for construction of turbines 27 miles off the coast, to begin operation by the end of 2020. Virginia electricity rate-payers will pay the exorbitant costs of this project.

The project, named Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW), will be the first offshore wind project in the mid-Atlantic. Dominion Energy and Orsted A/S of Denmark will erect two 6-megawatt wind turbines supplied by Siemens Gamesa of Spain. The estimated project cost is a staggering $300 million, to be paid for in the electricity bills of Virginia businesses and households.

According to the Wind Technologies Market Report, US wind turbine market prices in 2016 were just under $1,000 per kilowatt, or about $6 million for a 6-megawatt turbine. Virginia will pay 25 times the US market price for the CVOW turbines.

The wholesale price for electricity in Virginia is about 3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This is the price received by coal, natural gas, or nuclear generating facilities. The electricity produced from the two offshore turbines will receive 78 cents per kWh, or a staggering 26 times the wholesale price.

The SCC acknowledged that the project was not the result of competitive bidding, and that the project was not needed to improve power system reliability or capacity reserve margin. They also concluded “…it appears unlikely that the cost of offshore wind facilities will become competitive with solar or onshore wind options in the foreseeable future.” Virginia electricity rate payers will also pay for any project cost overruns.

Why would the State Corporation Commission approve such an expensive project? The SCC pointed out that on six separate occasions, the Virginia General Assembly declared that offshore wind was “in the public interest.” Governor Ralph Northam said the project would harness Virginia’s “offshore wind energy resource and the many important economic benefits that this industry will bring to our Commonwealth.”

What is it about green energy that induces government officials to pay far above market prices? It is doubtful that governor Northam or Virginia Assembly members would pay 25 times the market price for food, clothing, or housing. But they are quick to approve a project that will soak Virginia electricity rate payers.

Beyond the project cost, Virginians should be concerned that these wind turbines will likely not survive to the end of their projected 25-year life. The CVOW project is the southernmost proposed wind project along the Atlantic Coast and the site of periodic hurricane activity.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 34 hurricanes have been recorded within 100 miles of the project site within the last 150 years. Five of these storms were Category 3 hurricanes, including Hurricane Bob in 1991 and Hurricane Emily in 1993. A hurricane passes through the area about every five years.

Project specifications call for the CVOW wind turbines to survive sustained winds of 112 miles per hour (50 meters per second). The turbines are also designed to survive waves of 51 feet (15.6 meters) in height.

But it’s doubtful that these turbines will survive either the wind or waves of a major storm. According to the National Hurricane Center, Category 3 hurricanes exhibit sustained winds of 111 to 129 mph, stronger than the design limits. Category 1 hurricanes typically drive waves much higher than 50 feet. Hurricane Florence measured Category 1 wind speeds when it crossed the coast at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on September 14. But just two days before, wave heights of 83 feet were recorded on the northeast side of Florence.

Who speaks for the electricity rate payers of Virginia? It’s certainly not Governor Northam, the General Assembly, or Dominion Energy. Long after government officials leave office, Virginia citizens will be on the hook for an expensive offshore wind system that is unlikely to survive the turbulent weather of the Atlantic Ocean.

Originally published in The Western Journal., republished here at the request of the author. Steve Goreham is a speaker on the environment, business, and public policy and author of the book Outside the Green Box: Rethinking Sustainable Development.

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November 19, 2018 5:41 pm

I can’t help but wonder how many relatives of the governor are going to make money off of these contracts.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2018 6:00 pm

That’s why they need to vote out the politicians who pushed this through.

Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
November 19, 2018 7:24 pm

‘… vote out the politicians who pushed this through.”

They’re called Democrats. Voting for today’s Democrats is very much like voting for an army of Rats with fleas and disease to come descend on your home and family, simply because they seemed so cute and lovable in the movie Ratatouille.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 19, 2018 8:09 pm

Unfortunately Virginia has been absorbed by the ever expanding swamp. The people of southern Virginia will pay the price,
Maybe time for another Virginia split.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  Rotor
November 19, 2018 9:10 pm

But saving the world.

Bryan A
Reply to  Rotor
November 19, 2018 9:21 pm

Virginia is for Lovers
Of Uber high Energy Prices

Bill Powers
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 20, 2018 5:21 am

It is why the Progressives first order of business was to get control of the Public School System. They intentionally dumb down the Public School Students and render them susceptible to the propaganda put forth by the primary media outlets. Today our urban Public Schools are graduating high school students with, on average, an 8th grade reading proficiency and 4th grade math skills, which renders them all too easy to dupe with political mumbo jumbo about bureaucrats saving the planet from all the Hobgoblins Mencken warned us about.

Reply to  Bill Powers
November 20, 2018 6:40 am

Bill Powers, I am sure that across our nation [and culture] there are many others like you … but I am particularly glad to see you voice your good opinion: it is these pro-globalist/anti-American govt indoctrination centers which have — for decades — and continue to dupe and brainwash MILLIONS of our young LEGAL American citizens.

Our REAL challenge — not the immoral and corrupt politicians as mentioned in the leading comment; whereas there are 1000’s of such politicians waiting in line to fill any ballot — IS that WE The People continue, time and again, to elect into public office such self-serving globalists, disguised as DemonRats.

In the meantime, good patriot, I trust that you will continue to spread the word. You know: the “word”, that is, the message that of our foundational American values, is critical for our survival as a Constitutional Republic.

PS: A request: do not play their game with the propagandistic language of the DemonRats: [1] they are Regressives [Retrogardes] … they are NOT Progressives; [2] they are Libertines … they are NOT Liberals; and, [3] by definition, they are Fascists … they are NOT Socialists. Of course, they use their terms because they want to appear “warm and cuddly” so that people will vote for them; where, rather, they are anything but so. Such propaganda is all part of their BIG LIE. [They cannot tell people of their true intentions — subjugation of the citizen, denial of his unalienable rights and installment of a centralized govt.]

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 20, 2018 10:35 am

While trying not to be too unkind about it, many Democratic voters aren’t paying for their electricity anyhow, so the costs are irrelevant to them.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 20, 2018 10:36 am

While trying not to be too unkind about it, many Democratic voters aren’t paying for their electricity anyhow, so the costs are irrelevant to them.

Gerald Marquardt
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 20, 2018 12:15 pm

Beyond the project cost, Virginians should be concerned that these wind turbines will likely not survive to the end of their projected 25-year life. The CVOW project is the southernmost proposed wind project along the Atlantic Coast and the site of periodic hurricane activity.
We have been unable to vote the crud out because of Northern Virginia Slimeballs–that mostly work for govt.

Dr. Bob
Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
November 19, 2018 8:19 pm

It would be fitting if the businesses that purchase large amounts of electricity would vote with their choice to move facilities to another state that is less corrupt in their decision making process.

Tom Halla
November 19, 2018 5:44 pm

Why hully gee! Only 26 times as high as wholesale for unreliable power? Green rent seeking at it’s finest!

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 20, 2018 1:35 pm

Imagine if the cost is passed on to consumers.
Will a $200 monthly bill be closer to $5200?
Seems like the portion from this source will be.
This is insane.

nw sage
November 19, 2018 5:44 pm

Are the calculations of price-per-KW (para 3) based on nameplate values or the more realistic capacity factor values from actual wind velocity/duration measurements at the proposed installed site?
The implications are obvious.

Reply to  nw sage
November 19, 2018 6:11 pm

Nameplate. You have to look into the details to find what they actually plan to get (capacity/on stream). It’s like putting up a megawatt solar system and discovering they expect 4.8 mWh instead of 24 mWh, or 20% of nameplate.

November 19, 2018 5:50 pm

Why doesn’t someone sue them to tie this up in the courts, perhaps even to challenge the IPCC’s fake science as it justified the ‘greater good’ rationalization?

November 19, 2018 5:54 pm

Virginia a collection of blue state stupids deserves the hosing this asinine project is going to put on them…🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Reply to  juandos
November 19, 2018 7:43 pm

Not everyone here is deserving of your description. That would be mainly Tidewater and NOVA.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  JJ
November 19, 2018 8:23 pm

and you are paying a billion dollars for 25,000 more of them.

Reply to  JJ
November 19, 2018 9:07 pm

I would be moving if I lived there.

Phil R
Reply to  JJ
November 20, 2018 4:42 pm

Ok now, them’s fightin’ words. I was born and bred and still live in the Tidewater area and I was always against it (more nukes). Has nothing to do with Tidewater other than we happen to be the area closest to the ocean. Dominion doesn’t want to do it, but they’re being forced to by all the Liberal do-gooders that think they’re going to save the planet. First, Dominion has been accused of stalling the project by the nannycrat environmentalists, and second the two windmills are a pilot project. Hopefully, some sanity will prevail by the time these things get built in the next couple years and it won’t go any farther.

Reply to  Phil R
November 20, 2018 6:08 pm

I think juandos was closer to correct than you apparently realize. It didn’t reverse itself this year…

Reply to  juandos
November 20, 2018 1:38 am

“juandos November 19, 2018 at 5:54 pm
Virginia a collection”

That is a rather offensive untrue declaration.

Do you have any facts or evidence to prove that claim?

Steve O
Reply to  ATheoK
November 20, 2018 4:18 am

Virginia has an elected government. Its citizens voted for this platform.

Do you yourself believe they will win reelection to stay in power, or be voted out of office for such a waste of resources?

Reply to  Steve O
November 20, 2018 6:14 am

NoVA and the Tidewater area have gone blue, and they dominate the state population… the Democrats responsible for this travesty are virtually guaranteed to be re-elected.

Reply to  Don
November 21, 2018 4:40 pm

Tidewater has not gone Blue. In fact Virginia Beach was just listed as one of the Top Ten most conservative cities in the US. Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News are all rather conservative because of the military. A number of bases in that area.
I moved to Virginia in 1980. At the time the Capital Beltway (I-495) was only two lanes in each direction and the Northern Virginia area was only about 15% of Virginia’s total population.
Now, Northern Virginia has expanded area wise, because of the huge growth of the federal government. With all the direct Federal employees, all the government contractors, and the people who have growing businesses because of the growth of the Federal government, Northern Virginia’s population now accounts for about 35% of Virginia’s total population. And they vote Democrat. No wonder we’ve become a Purple state; we’re not completely Blue yet, but darn close.
By the way, the Capital Beltway (I-495), is up to 8 lanes each way on some stretches and it still jams up.
Needless to say, those idiots in Norther Virginia have surpassed the population of Tidewater by quite a margin, and they now dictate the statewide elections for Governor and US. Senate.

Phil R
Reply to  Steve O
November 20, 2018 4:46 pm

Please clarify that only SOME of its citizens voted for this. There are many of us who didn’t and would prefer not to be lumped in with the rest. Yes, unfortunately we were outvoted this time.

November 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Offshore Wind Turbines are ideal for the purposes of sadists and masochists. The sadists enjoy inflicting the pain of paying for this risky extravagance on tariff payers and some wealthy masochistic tariff payers enjoy feeling the financial pain of paying their bills to assuage their conscience burdened by environmental sins. In the future, the rusting ruins of these curiosities will provide picturesque attractions for tourists and mussels.

Phil R
Reply to  karin-ann tesdorf
November 20, 2018 4:49 pm

karin-ann tesdorf,

“the rusting ruins of these curiosities will provide picturesque attractions for tourists and mussels.”

I think you spelled “monstrosities” wrong. 🙂

November 19, 2018 6:08 pm

Someone has to calculate how much coal has to be consumed to create those wind towers. Add those emissions to the cost of electricity and it is going to be a Very Long Payback.

November 19, 2018 6:13 pm

As a resident of Virginia, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to pay increasingly higher electricity rates to support wind and solar boondoggles.

Reply to  Bob
November 19, 2018 6:25 pm

Saaay… Aren’t you that guy in Animal House that was getting whacks and kept saying, “Thank you, sir! May I have another?”

Thought I recognized you.

Weylan McAnally
Reply to  H.R.
November 20, 2018 11:47 am

Kevin Bacon was one of those fraternity pledges receiving the ritualistic paddling. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon rears its head again!

Reply to  Bob
November 19, 2018 6:26 pm

You forgot the “sarc” tag ? …I hope…..

Phil R
Reply to  Marcus
November 20, 2018 4:51 pm


I live in Virginia too, and have to deal with this. He didn’t need a /sarc tag. It’s not funny.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Bob
November 19, 2018 6:51 pm


Well, you already know what part of your future will look like (REAL high power bills).

Here’s another peek at the future: this summer I drove thru Colorado corn fields right after a “nature event” (hail storm) and saw fields of stalks – no leaves, no corn, just stalks.

Sometime over the next 25 years, I expect to see somewhat the same with windmills….

November 19, 2018 6:17 pm

Amazing what corrupt politicians and willfully ignorant voters can accomplish!

Reply to  Dennis
November 19, 2018 6:56 pm

Many of the voters are dead, fictional or repeat customers. Another large segment of the voters are considered “under privileged” and are entitled to significant utility subsidies, so the Normals will not only have to pay much higher prices for their power, but will also see Community Service rate hikes too so that the low-income residents can keep their big screen TVs running.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Dennis
November 19, 2018 7:03 pm

I suspect even Virginian’s aren’t stupid enough to pay for this hot steaming mess all by themselves. I’m guessing the ole’ Federal taxpayer gets dragged into this FUBAR project.

Of course, on the positive side and given what frequently happens to windmills on land, we will now be able to combine whale & windmill-burning watching from the same boat.

Reply to  Dennis
November 19, 2018 7:47 pm

I blame the MSM for choosing sides of the politics and politics for choosing sides of unsettled science, neither should ever be tolerated and the combination is fatal to the science.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 19, 2018 8:23 pm

Both chose the side with the deepest pockets

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
November 19, 2018 6:18 pm

Thank you for this article.

I hope the virtue-signalling imbeciles making the decisions in my country read this.

I am worried that they will get only the MSM spin and want to copy, as my poor country is wont to do.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
November 19, 2018 6:40 pm

The virtue-signalling imbeciles in Australia wouldn’t read a blog, nor would they understand the problem if they did. They are fully committed to be the best imbeciles that Australia can produce. And they are doing a bang-up job at it too. Ever since Julia Gillard hit the scenes, we’ve gone from an OK government, to one of utter stupid on steroids backward brained dead-head ignoramus idiots (and I’m being polite).

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
November 20, 2018 1:27 am

so true and the worst are the LINO’s who are scared to take a different (conservative, rational) policy position on so many subjects to the green-left hordes who have them sh*tting in their parliamentary pants, they are just useful fools for the green-left.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
November 19, 2018 9:12 pm

If you think facts would change any of their minds at this point, you haven’t been paying attention.

November 19, 2018 6:22 pm

Hey Virginians……eh, never mind.
Sometimes you just can’t fix stoopid !

Don Healy
November 19, 2018 6:26 pm

Is the 3 cents per kwh figure you cite correct. In Washington we have a lot of hydroelectric plants built years ago, and we pay about 12 cents. Still an awfully big difference from the wind farm you are discussing.

Stan Jakuba
Reply to  Don Healy
November 19, 2018 6:43 pm

Yes, it is. Shockingly, this is a news to most people. In Connecticut as in Wash. and most states the 2 to 3 cents is typical and it changes marginally pending contract negotiations over the years. That’s the cost for making electricity: pay for fuels, dividends, debt servicing, taxes, maintenance, pensions, ………. a rather small part of your 12 cents. It is worse here – 18 c/kWh.

Steve Goreham
Reply to  Don Healy
November 19, 2018 7:37 pm


3 cents per kWh is the wholesale price, the price that generators get. The retail price, which is paid by homeowners, is about 12 cents per kWh

Reply to  Don Healy
November 20, 2018 1:41 pm

There is the small matter of getting the power from where it is produced into everyone’s home.
Not of component of that infrastructure is what anyone would call cheap or a breeze to maintain.
And if no one were making a profit, who would do it?

Gary Pearse
November 19, 2018 6:27 pm

Its not the governor, its indeed the Virginia voter and rate payer who is responsible for bringing this on themselves. Talk about ” values”. They couldnt vote for Trump because he said some vulgar things and was plain spoken, nevermind that he’ s putting Americans back to work, cutting their taxes, standing up to international economic cheaters, bullies and terrorists, repatriating industries, chopping government fat, rebuilding the military, thwarting Anti-American destructive Champagne Soshulist’s plans and recovering sovereignty. No they like sweet talking тоталiтагуаиs who whose plans for ordinary citizens is serfdom.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 19, 2018 6:43 pm

BTW, I’m not even American. Just a thankful neighbor who knows that any hope for avoiding a new Dark Age, far worse than its namesake 1400yrs ago, lies in the success of this ill-spoken but presceint, determined President Trump. Hey, I’m from the politest country in the world but I can tell gold from the fool’s variety.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 20, 2018 6:12 pm

I wish more Americans had your clarity…

Jim Giordano
Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 21, 2018 1:15 am

I’m from the Great White North too, rooting for pro-life, pro-common sense Trump, while wearing a bag over my head because the rest of the country voted in a idiot pot-head with a famous name as our Lord Vader.

Alan Tomalty
November 19, 2018 6:28 pm

Just because they think it is free. When the wind blows, it isnt even free then, because you have to shut down the backup.

David Chappell
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
November 19, 2018 7:53 pm

Until the wind blows too hard…

Proudly Unaffiliated
November 19, 2018 6:32 pm

If we are fortunate, shortly after they are installed, fully paid for, and as functional as they will ever get, a hurricane will wipe them off the map. Poetic justice that would be and an object lesson. We need object lessons.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Proudly Unaffiliated
November 19, 2018 6:48 pm

Proudly, if the Virginians then go out there and set them up again after the hurricane, Im goibg to open up a branch office of something there to see if I can sell some fool’s gold.

Phil R
Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 20, 2018 5:03 pm

If you do, please hire me. I’m local, didn’t vote for this cr*p, and would be more than happy to scam….er….skim some recreational income from those idiots (hey, wait…)

bill johnston
Reply to  Proudly Unaffiliated
November 19, 2018 7:40 pm

Is someone insuring this project? If not, I guess the citizens get hosed again.

November 19, 2018 6:40 pm

Its not the governor, its indeed the Virginia voter and rate payer who is responsible for bringing this on themselves.
Hear, Hear.
Residents of Virginia certainly appreciate the opportunity to pay increasingly higher electricity rates to support wind and solar boondoggles.

Gerard O’Dowd
November 19, 2018 6:54 pm

This demonstration project was approved by the State Corporation Commission because the VA state legislature resolved it was in the state’s interest to fund the Offshore Wind project, regardless of its inane economics. I find its timing in relation to Jeff Bezos/ Amazon’s decision to site HQ2 in Crystal City, an office-shopping complex in Arlington, VA, right across the Potomac R from Trump’s WH is a bit more than coincidental. Sort of a double FU to DT.

Phil R
Reply to  Gerard O’Dowd
November 20, 2018 5:08 pm

Gerard O’Dowd,

Don’t know where you’re from, but you’re partly right. It was approved by the SCC, but a long time ago, before Amazon in DC and way before Trump was elected. These things take time (thank G*d), and Dominion has been accused of delaying the project after winning the rights to develop it. they’re being forced to do it, but not by Amazon, Trump, or me (I just get the bill).

Joel O'Bryan
November 19, 2018 7:02 pm

Climate Change is the Democrat’s religion… a pagan religion with an idolatry straight out of the Old Testament’s mold.
The wind turbines are their idols. And like everything the Democrats do today, they demand the People pay for their religious icons and idols to offer sacrifice (other People’s sacrifice) to their pagan climate god.

Democrat’s are intent on destroying Judeo-Christian morality, because those morals are founded on the Ten Commandments.

1st: You shall have no other Gods but me.
2nd: You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.

The Democrats are making wind turbines and solar installations their climate idols. And Climate is their pagan god.

Gordon Dressler
November 19, 2018 7:07 pm

In addition to the frequency of hurricanes mentioned in the article, and their catastrophic damage potential, there is this:
“The Graveyard of the Atlantic.
“From the Outer Banks of North Carolina north to the southern entrance of Chesapeake Bay off the Virginia coastline, two forces collide to create stormy, dangerous seas on a regular basis. One of those forces is the Labrador Current, which is an arctic stream of icy water that originates off the coast of Greenland. The other is the Gulf Stream, which contains warm waters from the Caribbean.
“When these two forces collide in the Atlantic Ocean near the Outer Banks of North Carolina, rough seas and dense fog are usually the result. Some of the areas known for dangerous seas include Cape Hatteras, Cape Fear, and Diamond Shoals.
“In addition to severe weather, these areas also have strong currents that can cause sandbars to shift and thus make it hard to navigate. It is believed that Blackbeard the Pirate used these factors to his advantage to keep from being captured. There is no doubt that this section of the Atlantic Ocean is extremely dangerous. The ocean floor in this area contains the relics of thousands of ships.
“So many shipwrecks occurred that the government eventually required that lifesaving stations be built every seven miles along the coast of the Outer Banks. These stations and their personnel would later become the United States Coast Guard.”
(source of the above quoted text: )

Virginia Beach is basically at the northern end of the Outer Banks. Sounds like a pretty good place to locate an offshore wind turbine farm, doesn’t it? Imagine: massive cargo ships heading into/out of nearby Chesapeake Bay having to navigate around large fixed structures 27 miles away from shore in dense fog or in heavy storms . . . yeah, right . . . better have triple-redundant GPS, emergency electrical power, main propulsion and steering systems.

Philip Schaeffer
November 19, 2018 7:20 pm

It is worth noting that this is a pilot facility/demonstrator involving only two turbines.

That isn’t going to provide very meaningful information about the costs of a large scale deployment with economies of scale.

Reply to  Philip Schaeffer
November 19, 2018 8:03 pm

ONLY two turbines that ONLY cost $150,000,000 each !… D’OH !

Phil R
Reply to  Philip Schaeffer
November 20, 2018 5:11 pm

Philip Schaeffer ,

+42. I’ve been trying to make this point as I made my way through this thread before I got to your comment.

November 19, 2018 8:05 pm

(comment from 1 hour ago lost to the ether again. sigh.)

Walter Sobchak
November 19, 2018 8:24 pm

“an expensive offshore wind system that is unlikely to survive the turbulent weather of the Atlantic Ocean.”

That is the good news. You won’t have to pay to demolish them.

Timo Soren
November 19, 2018 8:29 pm

Deepwater Wind built nameplate 30mw offshore RHode island. Pays a HUGE
premium to them for gauranteeed rates and they sell it 3 years later for a 100% profit to a
Danish company to get the gauranteed subsidies and now
Deepwater is proposing a second offwhore wind group.

The wacko greens have got people payings now billions of dollars in Rhode Island
alone for intermittent electric.

The wave of mass hysteria has reached inane levels.

Timo Soren
November 19, 2018 8:32 pm

Also, Deepwater was sooooo proud that it shut down in a storm successfully they
printed it everywhere any green person was to show how cool it was to have a windmill
that automatically shut down, not produce electric.

I seem to remember the sustained winds were only at 50mph.

November 19, 2018 8:57 pm

A Siemens Gamesa 6Mw offshore wind turbine features a 154 meter/505 feet rotor diameter. Once completed, I hope there will be video of the first hurricane that gets even close to these things. It would be informative; perhaps entertaining.

I have a question, though. Is 27 miles out a normal placement? The Block Island project off RI is about four miles out.

Reply to  Windsong
November 19, 2018 9:30 pm

my guess is 27 miles is how far offshore they need to be to not be visible from the beach. Green hokum meets tourism aesthetics.

Phil R
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 20, 2018 5:16 pm

Joel O’Bryan,

It has to do with a lot of things, including aesthetics (can’t piss off the tourists), but you have to remember the military, mostly Navy and Air Force, are big in this area and they do a lot of training off the Virginia coast.

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Phil R
November 20, 2018 7:54 pm

You know how stops signs and other road signs tend to get shot up in very remote regions of the mid-west and west in the US because it’s almost certain that nobody is around to witness? Just saying the Navy and Air force . . . well, you know, as part of training, . . .

Tom Abbott
November 19, 2018 9:18 pm

Well, all I know is my Oklahoma legislators decided to stop paying subsidies to windmills because it would eventually bankrupt the State economy.

How long do you think it will take Virginia’s legislators to discover this fact?

I saw a new study the other day claiming windmills cause unhealthy effects in humans. I wonder what kind of health effects these offshore windmills have on the creatures in the sea. The noise they make travels a lot farther in the ocean than in the air.

I must say this Virginia deal is about the worst one I have seen so far. It makes you wonder who is running the show in Virginia. Whoever it is must be really clueless. They probably think they are really clever.

Look what that Hockey Stick and all those other lies have caused. They have driven a certain segment of society over the edge of sanity and turned them into gibbering idiots.

Somebody ought to go to jail.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 20, 2018 2:42 am


I don’t think economic reality played the least part in their calculations. They are catering to the ignorance and wishful thinking of a particularly vocal segment of the electorate, while dishing out “pork” (a euphemism for graft) to well-heeled donors.

November 19, 2018 9:59 pm

Wow, just WOW! And I thought we had some dumb politicians in Australia.
Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project reportedly is for 2 towers with a total of 12 MW nameplate capacity (so about 4 MW average delivered power) for $300 million?
In Australia we had a 75 tower onshore wind farm built at Ararat in Victoria in 2017 with a nameplate capacity of 240 MW (average delivery about 70 MW) for a cost of about US$300 million.
I calculated that would require a price of about $70/MWhr to give a 6% return on investment assuming a 20 year life.

Ian W
Reply to  Robber
November 20, 2018 12:04 pm

A twenty year life is extremely unlikely unless it accepted that all the parts of the windmill will have been replaced by then. At sea it may be a third of that.

Reply to  Ian W
November 20, 2018 2:36 pm

Ian W
Very much on the button.
Salt winds, high-ish humidity and warm temperatures [in summer, at least] can do wonderful (if not necessarily wanted) things to machinery that is not properly protected.
And, of course, any small failure of protection will allow more wind and salt to attack the innards.
And so the weakening begins . . .


November 19, 2018 11:12 pm

They’ve just done the same in Shale oil rich Estonia (just watched recently as a nice northern anticyclone laid them up to sleep for the best part of 5 days).
You couldn’t make it up, then watch my electricity bill double!

The EU dictated, using your own resources = 2 legs bad, shuttered the only Baltic states NPP, Ignalina, despite having no alternative (and it being operated faultlessly for decades) = doubled Lithuanian electricity prices in the middle of a deep recession = 4 legs good!

They were then forced to admit, the only answer to the resulting energy famine is to import electricity from a (soon to be built) NPP literally 30 miles further over the border in Belarus.

There is only ONE worse scenario to having your own idiotic behaviour in a US state like Virginia…
Having a bunch of unelected drunken fools (Hi Mr Juncker!), some 1000 miles further away in Brussels doing the same, then claim all the people who previously lived on the cheapest electricity in the EU as backward!
Come to think of it, why not build a windfarm in central Brussels or a NPP in the old polluted oil refinery zone of Strasbourg, as they also try to shutter a fully working NPP in southern Alsace?

That nutter François Hollande and his greeny greeny ex wife Royale of “solar panel” road fame, has literally covered France with intermittent power sources, for a country getting up to 80% of it’s power from nuclear!- so much so, you can’t travel more than 30 miles at night without being surrounder by winking red lights.

There has got to be a place in a lunatic asylum for both of them, followed quickly by the Brussels partying/best restaurant brigades into rehab.

November 20, 2018 12:38 am

Just let them get on with the scheme, the results might knock a bit of sense into their heads.

Steve R.
November 20, 2018 2:26 am

27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach is a very busy location for maritime traffic, as shipping lanes converge entering the Chesapeake Bay. Also, the weather is often foggy offshore. I’m not sure the hazard to navigation is worth it for just a few MW of electricity generation.

November 20, 2018 2:33 am


Press and politicians reaction: “That’s never happened before! (GASP!) It must be global warming.”

Ewin Barnett
November 20, 2018 4:03 am

The median family income is about $55k/year. Every $1 million of spending consumes the entire annual income of about 18 families. A project with the capital cost of $300 million sucks the income of 5,400 families out of the general economy.

Such a project’s net effect on the economy comes from the extent to which it creates more wealth on an ongoing basis than it consumed to construct over its life time. Given the size and probabilities of disabling storm damage, an additional reserve must be accounted for as well. I am sure that the risk of total loss (and salvage expense) was included in the cost calculations. Dont you
think? Just asking.

November 20, 2018 4:03 am

I wonder if this project will affect all Virginians’ rates, or just those in Dominion Energy’s domain (this wind farm is a Dominion Energy project). There’s at least one other power company in Virginia.

Peta of Newark
November 20, 2018 4:51 am

That’s nothing

My elektrik supplier has just told me I’ll be paying £200 more in the next 12 months than I did, for the same amount of electric, as I paid in the previous 12 months.
It is actually a ‘nice round’ 33%
And just me in there. Single person cottage

Take that across *just* ordinary people’s homes in the UK and you get £6 billion.
wtf will ‘industry’ be paying extra?
Sorry. Silly question.
UK industry has left – gone to The Land Of The Rising Tat Pile

Is it any wonder that women are simply saying no. They have been for 25+ years, just ask the French.
Not just ‘unreasonable behaviour’, it is suicidal insanity.
They are NOT saying ‘no’ because The Boys are soooo rich, clever and intelligent as they like to think.
This story, amongst dozens of others, demonstrates the Exact Contrary to be true

Thanks Ancell, we owe you one.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
November 20, 2018 8:26 am

That increase is to pay for Drax to be converted into a wood burning stove (all 4 gw of it).

So Drax is now burning every forest in America, while emitting millions of tonnes of CO2 in cutting, processing and shipping the wood-pellets, and also increasing its combustion CO2 by 50%. (Prieviously, its coaI came from a mine under the power station.)

But you know this all makes (Green) sense…!!


November 20, 2018 5:56 am

Governor Northam is a democrat but the Virginia House and Senate are 51/49 – 21/19 republican majorities, at least in name, RINO comes to mind. If I lived there I would me for publishing the names of everyone that voted for HB 1558 which on the first line contains:
§ 56-234. Duty to furnish adequate service at reasonable and uniform rates.

A. It shall be the duty of every public utility to furnish reasonably adequate service and facilities at reasonable and just rates to any person, firm or corporation along its lines desiring same. Notwithstanding any other provision of law

In what universe is 25 times the going rate reasonable?

November 20, 2018 6:11 am

The turbines are also designed to survive waves of 51 feet (15.6 meters) in height.

And the Titanic was designed to survive a collision with at iceberg.

And if the waves get to 52 feet?

Bryan A
Reply to  Ve2
November 20, 2018 2:27 pm

Then the wind will only be blowing at 90mph ’cause that is all it takes to whip waves that high

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Ve2
November 20, 2018 8:22 pm

Yes, and each US Space Shuttle (orbiter) was designed to fly at least 100 missions. The orbiter Challenger was destroyed on its 10th flight due to an unforseen/overlooked launch booster failure mode. The orbiter Columbia was destroyed on its 28th flight due to an unforseen/overlooked failure modes of the launch system external tank and orbiter’s leading edge thermal protection tiles.

November 20, 2018 6:11 am

“TWO 6-megawatt wind turbines” … PLUS 27 mile long underwater cables, PLUS connection and control infrastructure. A breathtaking amount of money and effort for next to nothing in the way of electricity.

Boiled frog syndrome applies here, the cost increment to bill payers will be tiny, but not after umpteen such increments.

Reply to  climanrecon
November 20, 2018 10:03 am

That 6MW is the nameplate rating (i.e. – the marketing not-to-exceed performance)?
Real output closer to 1/3 of the nameplate rating, if they’re lucky.

Coach Springer
November 20, 2018 6:26 am

“Governor Ralph Northam said the project would harness Virginia’s “offshore wind energy resource and the many important economic benefits that this industry will bring to our Commonwealth.” Even more stupid than “to save the world from climate.” This is the nation’s energy policy being practiced in most places. The article is a vivid reminder worthy of repetition everywhere – including state capitols.

Farmer Ch E retired
November 20, 2018 6:44 am

The post states:

“Virginia citizens will be on the hook for an expensive offshore wind system that is unlikely to survive the turbulent weather of the Atlantic Ocean.”

What about the US tax payer contribution to this project? US tax dollars landing in the DC money trough slop over to most of the top 10 wealthiest suburbs/counties in the US. Much of the Virginia wealth comes from it’s proximity to DC – thus the US tax payers are indirectly co-funding this project.

Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
November 21, 2018 5:03 pm

Virginia has always been in the top 10 in per capita income. Long before the population explosion of Northern Virginia over the last 15 years.
Virginia has always been a fairly wealthy state.
Remember, we are not West Virginia.

November 20, 2018 7:22 am

Since no state has regulatory authority over offshore waters, this project would have to be subject to Federal permitting under NEPA as a “major federal project’ since it is situated in Federal waters (the exclusive economic zone granted to all nations from the 12 mile national waters to 200 miles offshore). Consequently, those who would be impacted by the hazards to navigation presented by these offshore towers would have a right to comment and intervene.

Phil R
Reply to  Duane
November 20, 2018 5:56 pm


Absolutely correct, but already taken care of. This has been in the works (EIS, lease auctions, etc.) for years. Hopefully, it fails and doesn’t go any farther after the next few years. Remember, SE Virginia is a BIG navy (and military in general) area. They wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t already have DoD buy-in.

November 20, 2018 7:41 am

The plan calls for construction of turbines 27 miles off the coast
been long time since I looked into maritime law/borders but…..this seems to well cross the boundaries and is eye catching to me.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  dmacleo
November 20, 2018 8:15 am

I wondered about that, too.

Here’s a link:

“An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.”

end excerpt

It looks like they have a legal right to put the windmills out there.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 20, 2018 9:50 am

Yeah, but there should laws against being that stupid.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 20, 2018 11:37 am

“We” is the United States of America Federal government … not the Commonwealth of Virginia.

November 20, 2018 7:57 am

I noted that after Earl passed across the Dominican Republic, all of the windelecs (wind turbines) had lost all their blades. (Despite their ability to feather the blades.). That is an expesive job, to check for structural damage and replace all the blades.

November 20, 2018 9:06 am

Should be named for what happens when the next big coastal storm hits after installing — Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind or CRASH.

November 20, 2018 9:24 am

Wonder if Bezos gets a discount or waiver entirely of the electricity price for the new Amazon HQ2 (HQ2a? HQ2b?)

Steve from Ky
November 20, 2018 9:40 am


November 20, 2018 10:27 am

This is state establishment of religion. The $300 is to perform a strictly symbolic religious sacrament, virtue-signaling the state’s eco-religious bona-fides.

November 20, 2018 11:37 am

There’s no need to worry about hurricanes. The wind turbines will dissipate them. I’m, of course, being sarcastic, but, Mark Jacobson and his tiny toon fans are serious and they have a lot of influence:

November 20, 2018 11:38 am

The location they selected is in about 60-70 feet of water, give or take, and the towers won’t be seeing waves higher than about 1/2 that. Plenty of old ordinance and other obstacles to navigation litter that area, and they are out of shipping lanes. As far as winds from storms, I’m thinking the blades will by design break off at the rotor hub once the wind gusts get high enough, and hopefully float to somewhere where they can be towed back to Norfolk and then refit on the windmill.

On the cost, we should just settle for 6 of them at a discounted 1 Trillion US Dollars. Didn’t California spend about 66 times that amount for a high-speed-rail system that isn’t going to be operational for about 5-7 more years ? At least they had a ton of economic trade studies and the people voted on the bond measures.

The 300 million being wasted on the 1st two windmill units shows up here ( Virginia Port Authority):,AgencyCode&selTitleList=SecretarialAreaTitle,AgencyTitle&selChapterID=51&selValueColumns=Total+Dollars&iptSubmitted=True&chkInitial=True&chkAmended=True&chkCaboose=True&iptFirstPageCall=False&iptShowInput=DontShow&iptShowToggle=Show&rdShowModes=Show

Virginia’s capital projects budget would be 1.2 Trillion in 2019, with these two paltry units gulping down 1/4th of it.

A single AC6000 GE locomotive alternator output is around 4 MW, and they cost about 3 million each, so would need 3 of them for under 10 Million US Dollars. Wind energy is very expensive initially (means pollution just to build them), and then there are the summer doldrums on the Chesapeake (we live there too), where home AC use is the highest.

No top down trade study of pros and cons seems to be available on the internet. Just some slides about how they are going to protect the existing leap frog population and not blow themselves up on old ordinance out there.

James Fosser
November 20, 2018 1:11 pm

How do ships avoid these?

Phil R
Reply to  James Fosser
November 20, 2018 5:59 pm

James Fosser,

Umm…as of right now, there’s only two.

November 20, 2018 1:47 pm

Has anyone looked at the numbers of birds that travel this route every year as part of their migration?
I think it is right on the main flight path for shorebirds.
So much for the Atlantic Flyway.

Reply to  Menicholas
November 20, 2018 2:34 pm

Birds seldom fly over ocean waters on their migratory path southward. Especially as far out as where these turbines will operate.

Snarling Dolphin
November 20, 2018 7:05 pm

This is what happens when government is allowed to collect more money than it knows what to do with. Cut them off or suffer the well deserved consequences Virginia.

Snarling Dolphin
November 20, 2018 7:09 pm

This is what happens when government is allowed to collect more money than it knows what to do with. Cut them off or suffer the richly deserved consequences Virginia.

Reply to  Snarling Dolphin
November 21, 2018 5:09 pm

I never saw this initiative on any ballot. People keep saying that we Virginians voted for this. No, some of the politicians voted for this.
Now we all know that politicians don’t necessarily vote the way their constituents would like them to vote. What they say and what they do are usually two different things.

Gordon Dressler
November 20, 2018 9:15 pm

Just wondering if these wind turbines are designed to handle the worst-case icing of their blades, both the additional loading on the rotating shaft bearings and the additional loading on the airfoils? For reference, just a uniform one inch-thick ice layer on the estimated total surface area of a single ~75 m long blade on the Siemens 6 MW offshore wind turbine would be an additional mass of about 38,000 lbs!

And what happens if the ice buildup on just one of the blades is partially shed with the turbine spinning in the high range of allowable rpm?

Or is there just an operational requirement to shut down (feather) a wind turbine whenever ambient temperatures fall below 0 C (32 deg-F) with chance of precipitation or anytime ambient temperatures fall below -2 C (28.4 deg-F), the freezing point of salt water/salt water spray?

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