Tommy Eskridge

VA - Offshore Wind Farm Threatens Tangier Family’s Conch Fishing Livelihood

A small group of Tangier watermen find themselves competing with Virginia’s biggest power company, Dominion Energy, for natural resources in an area just outside the Chesapeake Bay 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Dominion Energy is using a 2,135-acre site in federal waters – leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy – for its recently launched Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, a two-turbine, offshore wind test site.

Each turbine produces about six megawatts of power.

The pilot project will prepare Dominion for 2024, when it plans to begin constructing 188 commercial offshore wind turbines that will produce about 14 megawatts of energy each – or more than 2,600 megawatts.

The offshore wind project is part of a goal for Dominion’s Virginia operations to be 100% carbon-free by 2045, as required by the Virginia Clean Economy Act, signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam in April.

But even in the testing phase, the offshore wind project is interfering with the livelihood of watermen who have had much success in the area fishing for conch and black sea bass.

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