The Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) will develop the project together with utility Dominion in order to obtain data and experience useful for the development of large-scale projects in state waters.
The research site is due to use two 6MW Alstom Haliade turbines. It is planned for 44 kilometres off the Virginina coast, next to a commercial lease area.
In 2013, Dominion submitted the highest bid of $1.6 million in the US's second offshore wind competitive lease auction, winning the right to develop a block with a wind generation potential of more than 2GW.
"The data collected under this research lease will help us understand the wind potential, weather and other conditions relevant to standing up wind power generation offshore Virginia," said BOEM director Abigail Ross Hopper. "This data will be valuable not only to BOEM and DMME, but also to other government agencies, the offshore renewable energy industry, universities, environmental organisations and others."