McGill Invests $3.1M in North-America’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

When operational in 2026, the renewable energy project will generate enough power for 660,000 homes.
Image by BOEM-OPA. Licensed under Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike

On February 22nd, 2024, alternative investment manager Stonepeak acquired a 50% equity interest in Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project (“CVOW”). The McGill Investment Pool has USD 25M committed to the Stonepeak Global Renewables Fund, a fund specializing in renewable energy infrastructure. The investment is one of the latest in the endowment’s sustainable investment portfolio and advances the university’s broader socially responsible investment strategy.

CVOW is a 2.6 gigawatt offshore wind farm set to launch commercially in late 2026. Located about 45 kilometres off the coast of Virginia Beach, the Project is expected to be the largest offshore wind project in North America. The 176 Siemens Gamesa turbines will produce the power equivalent to the demand of 660,000 households. By avoiding emissions generated by fossil-fueled power facilities, CVOW will play a critical role in the decarbonization of Virginia and North Carolina’s energy supply.

The USD 9.8B project trailblazes an emerging wave of offshore wind production in the United States. Compared to Europe and Asia, North American offshore wind is severely underdeveloped. Recent years have seen interest and inflation rates stifle development, leading to write-downs and cancellations, however, this trend seems to be reversing. National capacity was limited to 42 megawatts in 2023, generated solely from the Block Island Wind Farm and the CVOW pilot project, but this figure is projected to grow to 1 gigawatt following the completion of the South Fork Wind Farm and the Vineyard Wind 1 later this year.

CVOW remains on time and budget, having fully completed the leasing and development phases, which included an environmental review by the governmental agency the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management ("BOEM"). According to Dominion Energy, the Project is set to employ 1,100 workers during operation, supporting upwards of USD 82M in pay and benefits to the local economy. The firm is committed to employing a unionized workforce during construction, having announced a partnership with North America’s Building Trades Unions.

Sustainable investment is one of the eight Phase II commitments of McGill’s socially responsible investment approach. The Phase II target will see 10% of the McGill Investment Pool invested in alignment with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. CVOW directly contributes to this commitment, as offshore wind energy is aligned with SDG 7: “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all” and SDG 14: “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.”

As of February 29th, 2024, the Stonepeak Global Renewable Fund represented CAD 11.3M or 0.5% of the total McGill Investment Pool. The fund includes Taiwanese and Japanese offshore wind assets, North American and Caribbean solar projects, and has also recently acquired four onshore wind farms located across the U.S. with a total capacity of 957 megawatts.

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