Dominion Energy and Dong are to build 12 MW of offshore wind energy capacity off the USA’s mid-Atlantic coast.

The two companies have signed a deal to partner on the Coastal Virginia project, which would be the first offshore wind project in the mid-Atlantic region and only the second in the USA.

According to Dominion, the two companies will begin refining agreements for engineering, procurement and construction. The utility has targeted installation by the end of 2020, and says that the project would give it “valuable experience in managing offshore wind resources”.

“Virginia is now positioned to be a leader in developing more renewable energy thanks to the Commonwealth’s committed leadership and Dong’s unrivalled expertise in building offshore wind farms,” said Thomas F. Farrell, II, Dominion Energy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.

The Coastal Virginia project will comprise the installation of two 6 MW turbines 42 km off the coast of Virginia Beach on a 844 ha site leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. It will provide Dominion with critical operational, weather and environmental experience needed for the development of the adjacent 45 649 ha site leased by Dominion Energy from the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

Dong and Dominion have signed a memorandum of understanding giving Dong exclusive rights to discuss a strategic partnership with Dominion about developing leased sites.

“This project will provide us vital experience in constructing an offshore wind project in the United States and serve as a stepping stone to a larger commercial-scale partnership between our companies in the future,” said Samuel Leupold, executive vice president and CEO of Wind Power at Dong. “We see the tremendous potential in the Mid-Atlantic for emission-free, renewable wind generation and we are excited to help the Commonwealth in reaping the benefits of wind power.”