Virginia Beach Nixes Kitty Hawk Wind Cables

Site map for the first phase and cable connection route for the proposed Kitty Hawk Wind project.

by Steve Haner

The political leaders of the City of Virginia Beach have informed an offshore wind developer that they oppose its plan to bring power cables ashore at Sandbridge Beach. No formal vote was taken on the application, however, according to media reports.

The story appeared in The Virginian-Pilot and on local television station WAVY around Thanksgiving. When Bacon’s Rebellion last visited this matter, Virginia Beach City Council had conducted a May public hearing at which most speakers strongly opposed the power cable location.

European energy developer Avangrid controls the wind lease space off the shores of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, but the most efficient plan to bring power ashore brought the cables north to Sandbridge Beach in Virginia. The exact landing location proposed was under a city-owned parking lot that serves the commercial section of the popular beach neighborhood.

From there the cables would have run along mostly public highway right of way to connect with the main electrical grid. A similar plan to bring cables ashore from Dominion Energy Virginia’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project involves the state’s military reservation (no longer named for Confederate artillerist William Pendleton) so is not near commercial or residential properties. No similar local opposition has developed to CVOW’s cables.

The city leaders reportedly informed the developer of their stance in a private meeting and then later announced it. The company is free to continue to try to change minds, since no formal vote was taken, and also free to look for another route to the grid.

The jeopardy to that project is another strike against the economic promoters in the Hampton Roads region who dream of a major industrial hub there to install and maintain the massive turbines. It follows quickly on the announcement by Siemens Energy, another European firm, that it is abandoning its plans to build a manufacturing plant for turbine components in Portsmouth.

Avangrid has no customer yet for the power the Kitty Hawk field would produce and has not started the full application process with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Another setback for it came when North Carolina’s Duke Power filed its long-term integrated resource plan and included no call for offshore wind. Dominion is planning for more but has resisted using third-party suppliers and prefers to own the projects directly.