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ODU wins DoD grant to study offshore wind siting impact on military training

The $775,000 grant was awarded by the Pentagon, in partnership with William & Mary and JMU.

NORFOLK, Va. — Construction is set to begin in 2024 on Dominion Energy's 220-turbine wind farm, 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

The 2,135-acre site will be the nation's largest offshore wind farm when the $7.8 billion project is complete. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind initiative will reportedly produce enough zero-carbon electricity to power 650,000 homes.

Developing renewable clean energy is important for the environment. What is also important, though, is military training.

The Navy operates more than 112,000 miles of offshore air, surface, and sub-surface operating areas in the Atlantic -- including the "V.A. Capes" -- to conduct what it says are "dynamic and realistic training for our Nation's fleet operators."

So, how do you make these two seemingly incompatible missions co-exist?

That's where Old Dominion University comes in. ODU has won a $775,000 grant from the Department of Defense Office of the Secretary of Veterans and Defense, in partnership with William & Mary and James Madison University.

Together, they will help create a wind energy siting solution, to mitigate the effects of the location decision on military training, readiness, and research.

"We had the Navy and other big stakeholders show us the areas they would be least concerned putting up shore wind," said Paul Olsen, ODU's Director of Programs and Partnerships. "This study ensures that going forward we're striking the best balance between renewable energy and our military readiness requirements."

ODU President John Broderick added: "I am 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."