Two US Offshore Wind Ports Secure Nearly USD 50 Million in Federal Grants

New York’s Port of Albany and Port of Virginia’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal have secured USD 49.5 million in grants from the federal pot for upgrades to support offshore wind development in the US, which set a target of 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 at the beginning of this year and has since significantly accelerated project permitting process.

The upgrades at the two ports are among 25 projects the US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on 23 December as the winners of more than USD 241 million in discretionary grant funding.

According to the DOT, these grants demonstrated rapid action on commitments in the Biden-Harris Port Action Plan, including the launch of the first round of expanded port infrastructure grants funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by the US President Joe Biden on 15 November and welcomed by the offshore wind industry.

Following the enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America said the new law would help expedite some of the foundational infrastructure upgrades to ports and electrical grid needed to spur the creation of a US offshore wind industry.

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Port of Albany to Fund Infrastructure for Offshore Wind Tower Manufacturing Facility

The Port of Albany has won a USD 29.5 million grant for the design and construction of the infrastructure necessary to develop an offshore wind tower manufacturing facility at the port.

The project involves building the necessary infrastructure to develop 81 acres of a vacant industrial area along the Hudson River, immediately south of the existing Port District, into an offshore wind tower manufacturing port and redevelopment of an additional 14.5 acres of vacant area inside the Port of Albany.

The project will see the construction of an access bridge and connector roadway as well as of all internal roads, all utility site work and infrastructure, upland preparation, berth dredging, and 500 linear feet of 6,000 lb/sf heavy capacity wharf construction.

The development of the tower manufacturing facility in the Port of Albany was kick-started after Equinor, together with its partner BP, won New York’s 2.5 GW offshore wind tender at the beginning of this year. In the proposals submitted at the state’s offshore wind solicitiation, the developer included plans to house the manufacturing of wind turbine towers and transition pieces in the Port of Albany.

The facility will be built by Marmen Welcon, a joint venture between two manufacturers of onshore and offshore wind towers, which entered into a strategic alliance with Belgian company Smulders for the production of transition pieces.

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Portsmouth Marine Terminal Investing in Staging Area for Biggest US Offshore Wind Farm

Port of Virginia will use its USD 20 million grant to fund improvements to the Portsmouth Marine Terminal to enable it to serve as a staging area in support of offshore wind projects.

The grant will fund creation of a wind turbine generator staging area in the uplands, adjacent to one of the wharves, and a second storage area where monopiles and other project components will be stored.

The staging and storage areas require installation of piles to increase the load-bearing capacity of the site, new pavement to support the heavy components that will be imported through the facility, stormwater and drainage infrastructure improvements, and site utility work.

In August, the Port of Virginia reached an agreement to lease a portion of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal to Dominion Energy for the development of the 2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, the country’s largest offshore wind project, which is currently undergoing federal permitting.

Under the agreement, 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 foundations and turbines that will be installed 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

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The 2.6 GW offshore wind farm has also reeled in plans for the country’s first offshore wind blade factory to be built at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, as the project’s wind turbine supplier Siemens Gamesa entered into an agreement with the Virginia Port Authority in October to lease more than 80 acres of land to establish a plant that would perform finishing of Siemens Gamesa Offshore IntegralBlade.

Photo: Rendition of the Port of Albany tower and TP manufacturing site; Image source: Equinor