The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has approved the first wind energy research activities plan (RAP) for a facility planed to be built off the Virginia coast.

Dominion Resources prepared the RAP for the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP). The project partners include Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME).

The approval allows for installation and operation of two 6MW turbines and associated cabling to shore. The project, however, is subject to final engineering review.

Electricity generated from the project is expected to power 3,000 homes, upon commissioning.

Located on the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Virginia, the research project is expected to help commercial development of offshore wind in order to diversify energy mix.

Governor Terry McAuliffe said: "The approval of Virginia’s Research Activities Plan marks another important step in our mission to be the first state to install offshore wind turbines in federal waters off of Virginia’s coast."

BOEM said that the data collected from the research lease is expected to help understand the wind potential, weather and other conditions for generating power offshore Virginia.

BOEM director Abigail Ross Hopper said: "It will also allow us to gain experience with new offshore renewable energy technology, which is not only valuable to Virginia and BOEM, but also to other government agencies, the offshore renewable energy industry, and other stakeholders."