The company said the 110-foot vessel Inez Eymard is operating off the coast of Virginia Beach to determine composition and strength of soil on the sea floor to support wind turbine foundations and electrical cables.
Dominion received $51 million in grants from the Department of Energy for a wind energy demonstration project. If approved, the project would include two turbines capable of producing six megawatts of power each.
"This proposed project provides a very interesting opportunity to develop renewable offshore wind energy for Virginia," Paul Ruppert, senior vice-president of business development for Dominion, said in a statement Thursday.
The company says it still needs several regulatory approvals before moving ahead with construction. Once approved, it would take about a year and a half for the project to be completed.
There are no commercial offshore wind farms in service in the United States.