Submitted by Alena Yarmosky, Office of the Governor
Governor Ralph Northam recently congratulated the Business Network for Offshore Wind and participants at its International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum, a three-day global conference held in Virginia’s capital city with more than 1,300 attendees. The conference marked the culmination of months-long efforts between the Commonwealth and many international and domestic partners across the public and private sectors to position Virginia as a national leader in the offshore wind industry. Over 620 companies from the U.S. and overseas were represented at the conference.
“This was a landmark week for Virginia, and I am appreciative of the Business Network for Offshore Wind and all those who took part in the International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia is all in for offshore wind, and partners around the globe have recognized our commitment, including Avangrid Renewables, the Basque Country, and Dominion Energy. We are so excited for the future of the offshore wind industry in Virginia.”
This week, Governor Northam also announced that the Port of Virginia had reached an agreement to lease a portion of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal to Dominion Energy. This accelerates the largest commercial clean energy offshore wind development in the United States. Dominion Energy will use 72 acres of the deep-water, multi-use marine cargo Portsmouth Marine Terminal as a staging and pre-assembly area for the construction of a 2,600-megawatt offshore wind farm. The Virginia wind project will produce enough megawatts of clean, renewable energy to power up to 660,000 homes.
The Business Network for Offshore Wind hosts the International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum annually. The Network is a nonprofit, educational organization. Its mission is to develop the offshore wind renewable energy industry, and its accompanying supply chain. The Network partners with industry leaders and governments at all levels to create jobs and provide benefits to local economies while ensuring a cost-effective, clean energy portfolio. The International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum early attendees also received the opportunity to tour Coastal Virginia’s Offshore Wind farm and see the United States’ largest maritime industrial base in Norfolk.
Virginia’s vision for offshore wind began in the early 2000s when the Commonwealth secured an offshore wind lease area. Two six-megawatt Siemens Gamesa wind turbines were installed in 2020 by Dominion Energy and Ørsted—the first offshore wind project located in federal waters and the first research turbines installed in the United States.
The Notice of Intent for Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project and Avangrid Renewables Kitty Hawk Offshore project were issued last month, marking the first major milestone in the federal permitting process for these large-scale commercial wind projects. Kitty Hawk has the potential to provide Virginia with 2,500-megawatts of clean energy. The construction of the first 800-megawatt stage is scheduled to begin in 2024. It is expected that this will create 800 jobs regionally and have a $2 billion impact from 2021 to 2030. The power from the Kitty Hawk project will come ashore in Virginia to then be transported throughout the regional distribution network.
Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia entered into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources in October 2020. The three states pledged their cooperation on the promotion, development, and expansion of offshore wind energy.
During the International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum this year, Secretary of Commerce & Trade Brian Ball signed a memorandum of understanding with Minister of Economic Development for the Basque Country of Spain, Arantxa Tapia, which formally recognized the common interests in the development of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage technologies. Iberdrola, located in Basque Country, is the majority shareholder of Avangrid Renewables, the company that has secured the lease to the Kitty Hawk Offshore wind lease area. Innovative partnerships like these demonstrate the Commonwealth’s commitment to collaboration with governmental and private partners in the offshore wind industry.
“Virginia’s comprehensive infrastructure systems, forward-looking energy policies, and commitment to industry-wide collaboration have brought the Commonwealth front and center when it comes to offshore wind in this country,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “It is has been a pleasure to work with so many great partners in this space, and we look forward to continuing that work for the foreseeable future.”
“Virginia is a frontrunner in the development of U.S. offshore wind power,” said The Business Network for Offshore Wind CEO and President Liz Burdock. “The use of Portsmouth Marine Terminal demonstrates the Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment to developing a robust offshore wind industry and supporting local and regional business development. Offshore wind continues to prove it is a resilient, fiscally dependable, and solution-providing industry that will benefit Virginia’s economy, spur innovation, and provide opportunities for businesses of all sizes, particularly minority and women-owned businesses.”
Virginia’s ports have the existing infrastructure, deep channel routes, and freedom from overhead air draft that will allow national offshore wind assembly and its manufacturing supply chain hub to flourish. With increased support from the federal level and the Virginia General Assembly, the offshore wind industry is poised to grow exponentially. The Commonwealth has, and will continue to, act decisively to take advantage of this support.