Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Tyler Eddins | Technology Editor
Clean renewable energy is more important now than ever before due to the ever-present climate crisis the world faces. Dominion Energy’s plan to help with this is to create a two hundred and twenty turbine wind farm, spanning over twenty-one hundred acres, located twenty-seven miles off the Virginia Beach coast.
Once completed in 2026, it will be the largest offshore wind farm in the country and will reportedly produce enough electricity to power over 650,000 homes. One major issue with this project is the effect it will have on the Navy’s training operations.
The Navy uses this area off the Virginia Beach coast, and others along the Atlantic, to conduct dynamic and realistic training.
Through the $775,000 grant issued by the Pentagon, Old Dominion University will step in and work to find a ‘siting solution’ to place the location of the turbines in areas that will help mitigate their effects on military operations.
ODU will conducting this research initiative in conjunction with the College of William & Mary and James Madison University.
The principal investigator for the project will be ODU geography professor Tom Allen and executive director of ODU’s OpenSeas Technology Innovation Hub, Jerry Cronin will coordinate.
University President John R. Broderick stated that he is “proud of all of our researchers as we balance the economic opportunities of our maritime economy with the realities of national military security and our responsibility to protect our natural resources."
This is not ODU’s first foray into the studies of offshore wind. In 2019 a two-hundred-member task force was organized by the university led by ODU’s executive director for programs and partnerships, Paul Olsen, ODU scientist George Hagerman and program specialist Rema McManus.
The task force has reportedly earned $1.8 million in funding over the last year of operations.