(Corrects name of CEO to Robert Blue, not Steven Ridge, in the second and third paragraphs)
By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Dominion Energy Inc executives said on Wednesday that the electric utility's $9.8 billion offshore Virginia wind farm is on track and on budget, having recently entered a critical phase of the environmental review process.
The roughly month-long crucial public comment period on the environmental impact study of the 2.6 gigawatt project will end in February, Dominion Chief Executive Officer Robert Blue said on the Richmond, Virginia-based company's quarterly earnings call.
"As it relates to the project's execution, it's very much on track and on budget," Blue said, adding that Dominion is working with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and other overseers of U.S. offshore wind development.
The wind installation designed to start 27 miles (44 km) off the Virginia Beach shores, which could provide carbon-free power to more than 650,000 homes and businesses, is slated for completion by the end of 2026.
Offshore wind is seen as a key energy source in the climate-focused transition away from fossil fuels, prompting the Biden administration recently to streamline the regulatory process for projects and set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of wind power generated off U.S. shores by 2030.
Currently, there are only two offshore wind installations in the United States, a 29 megawatt farm off the coast of Rhode Island and a 12 megawatt facility off Virginia, with several large-scale operations proposed or under construction.
Wind and solar are the most popular U.S. renewable electricity sources, which are replacing power generation from greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels like coal.
In its 2023 planning documents filed with regulators last month, Dominion said it aimed to retire its coal-only power generation units by the end of the decade. (Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Alexander Smith)