Virginia Strategising Its Role in East Coast Offshore Wind Development

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) is looking for contractors who will help develop and implement strategies that will establish the state as the hub for offshore wind development along the US east coast.

DMME issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) on 22 May, seeking qualified contractors with expertise in port infrastructure requirements, build-out of the various offshore wind supply chain sectors, and long-term maritime service needs.

The results of the work done under the RFP will inform offshore wind development companies, the Virginia maritime industry and state and local decision-makers, and will help strengthen Virginia’s position in attracting the offshore wind supply chain and service industry to the state.

“This is the start of a 50-year industry that will stretch up and down the East Coast. From a logistics standpoint, locating the offshore wind supply-chain in Virginia just makes sense,” said Brian Ball, Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade.

According to DMME, Hampton Roads in Southeastern Virginia has what it takes to become the hub for wind power development off the east coast of the United States.

“Hampton Roads’ unmatched port infrastructure and high-quality maritime workforce make the region an ideal location for offshore wind energy development,” the State Governor Ralph Northam said, further adding that Virginia should be not only “the prime location” for the the supply chain but also for the full build-out of its own offshore wind assets.

Although Virginia’s most prosperous project for the time being is the 12MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project, the state is said to be well positioned to support construction of East Coast offshore wind farms, especially in the states that have been making significant progress to get their offshore wind projects up and running, such as Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland.

Nevertheless, Virginia recently saw its own 12MW project moving ahead, after the world’s largest offshore wind developer, Ørsted, and the US utility Dominion Energy signed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract in February 2018. The developers expect to have the project’s two wind turbines installed in 2020.

The state has tagged itself as being in favour of a renewable energy-based future after being listed as one of those that had requested exclusion from any new oil & gas leasing in response to the new 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program, proposed by the Trump Administration.

In August 2017, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was asked to embrace offshore wind as a key part of the Commonwealth’s energy plan, in a letter sent by more than 50 elected officials, small businesses, community groups, environmental organizations, and health professionals, who said that the state possessed vast offshore wind resources.

Offshore WIND Staff

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