Virginia could be ‘offshore wind giant’
More than 250 local businesses and offshore wind experts met last week to discuss Virginia’s emerging role in the US offshore wind industry, positioning it as the south’s first ‘offshore wind giant.’
The Business Network for Offshore Wind, along with the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, served as hosts for the Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit at the Hilton Norfolk.
Participants discussed factors contributing to a strategy for the commercial development of at least 2 GW offshore wind. This would enable the offshore wind industry to become a major energy resource and job generator for Virginians.
Speaking at the Summit, Virginia governor Ralph Northam said, “Offshore wind is a tremendous victory for Virginia, providing the potential for a new industry, offering valuable energy diversity, reducing our carbon footprint and serving as an important economic engine. Virginia is on the leading edge in advancing clean energy resources and we have a clear opportunity to act as a change agent in driving development.”
As a first step, Virginia is moving forward with a 12 MW demonstration project consisting of two 6 MW turbines that will provide significant research and development as the industry grows off the Virginia coast.
The demonstration project will provide important information to stakeholders, including military, commercial and recreational interests, and other governmental entities. Anticipating completion by 2020, this project will be the first constructed in federal waters and the first owned by an electric utility.
“The research project will provide the local supply chain experience, help streamline the Federal regulatory process and demonstrate new technologies while maintaining their ability to withstand hurricanes,” said Business Network for Offshore Wind president, Liz Burdock.