Last year, Virginia announced its intent to become a national leader in the use and development of renewable energy. This year, it followed through on those commitments with landmark legislation that guides a statewide transition to 100% renewable electricity production, and requires a significant portion of that production to come from offshore wind energy.
Governor Northam celebrated these achievements in Virginia Beach last month with a ceremonial bill signing and trip 27 miles out of Rudee Inlet to observe two of the nation’s first offshore wind turbines. These turbines, installed in June, are the first phase of Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) Projects. The CVOW Projects include the two recently-installed pilot turbines and plans for the construction of the largest offshore wind project in the U.S, which will provide power for the equivalent of 650,000 homes.
These projects, and a score of others planned on the East Coast, will not only deliver clean energy to the grid, but promise significant job creation potential through development of a new industry in the U.S. that has been valued between $50 and $100 billion.
Virginia has the ability to become a national leader in the offshore wind industry. Our state’s port infrastructure, maritime workforce, and business environment are unmatched on the East Coast in their ability to support the manufacture, installation, and service of offshore wind turbines.
While much has been achieved, most of the hard work to bring the offshore wind industry to Hampton Roads and Virginia is just beginning. To carry out this work, Virginia now has a state-level Office of Offshore Wind, Commonwealth Offshore Wind Task Force led by high-level public and private sector stakeholders including HRPDC Executive Director Bob Crum, and dedicated offshore wind business development capacity at the regional economic development alliance. What’s more, dozens of regional organizations involved in the maritime industry, workforce and economic development, and higher education are actively working to establish Virginia as an East Coast offshore wind hub. The competition from other states is intense, but Virginia is devoting remarkable resources to capitalize on the environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind energy.
Governor Northam signs offshore wind legislation with state legislators from Hampton Roads