UPDATE 10/25/21: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday announced that Siemens Gamesa will join Dominion Energy and Orsted in developing an offshore wind manufacturing hub at the Port of Virginia in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Northam said Siemens Gamesa’s blade finishing facility will represent a $200 million investment and will create 300 new jobs.
U.S. Dept. of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Dominion Energy CEO Robert Blue joined Northam in making the announcement at the Port of Virginia.
“It’s not just that 300 people are going to be working here. This is symbolic for the entire nation,” Granholm said. “Offshore wind energy is going to create ripples of job creation spreading from Virginia across the country.”
In August, Dominion Energy reached an agreement with the Port of Virginia for staging and assembly of its 2,600-megawatt offshore wind project — the U.S.’s largest commercial offshore wind project in development.
Dominion Energy will lease 72 acres at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal for staging and pre-assembly of foundations and turbines to be installed 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Once completed, the Virginia offshore wind project will produce enough renewable energy to power up to 660,000 homes.
“This location at the Port of Virginia is second to none,” Dominion’s Blue said in August. “It has deep water access, no overhead restrictions, a strong, experienced maritime workforce, and sufficient space for these large wind infrastructure components. It is perfectly situated to serve the Virginia offshore wind project and grow the domestic supply chain needed to complete other offshore wind projects in the United States.”
The lease term of 10 years is valued at nearly $4.4 million annually, according to the governor’s office, and includes an option for two, five-year renewals. Dominion Energy’s two-turbine pilot program is currently operating off Virginia Beach.
The Biden administration set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, a goal industry experts will be difficult to achieve given supply chain challenges and the immaturity of the U.S. offshore wind market. Last year, Northam signed into law the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which sets a goal of producing at least 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2034. The law set a target of 2045 for the commonwealth to achieve 100% carbon-free energy production.
“This announcement is yet another milestone toward making Virginia the national leader in offshore wind power,” Northam said. “The Commonwealth and Dominion Energy are standing together to promote clean energy, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs, and build a new American industry on the East Coast of the United States.”
Renewable Energy World will continue to update this story.