Special to the Guide
The Portsmouth Marine Terminal was the site on Oct. 27 to celebrate the city’s critical role in Dominion Energy’s construction of its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.
Recently, the first eight of 176 huge monopile foundations for the developing project were delivered to the Terminal to be staged for what will be North America’s largest offshore wind farm, about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.
Company, civic, and community leaders gathered at the Port of Virginia to view the first of the monopile foundations which will be installed into the sea floor to support the wind turbine generators.
Once operational, the offshore wind project can save Dominion Energy customers about $3 billion in fuel costs in the first 10 years alone, Dominion Energy CEO Bob Blue said.
“Virginia is leading the way in offshore wind,” said State Senator L. Louise Lucas, who joined Blue, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover, and a host of other elected officials at the portside ceremony. “I look forward to the finalization of this project which will help to diversify the grid, assist with the reduction of carbon emissions, and most importantly economic development and jobs for the citizens here in Hampton Roads.”
The 2.6 gigawatt project will provide electricity to up to 660,000 homes. Limited onshore construction is expected to begin later this year.
Offshore construction will begin in the spring of 2024 thanks to final federal approval. The project is expected to conclude in late 2026.
“This project will play a vital role in helping us execute our mission of delivering reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy that powers our customers everyday,” Blue said. “It’ll enhance reliability by producing large scale electricity and adding to the diversity of our ‘all of the above’ generation portfolio.”
U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, who represents parts of Hampton Roads, also attended the celebration, praising the benefits of clean energy for Virginia and the country.
“The Hampton Roads area is ideal and has advantages for offshore wind with manufacturing and employment that other areas don’t have,” he said pointing to the region’s port channels, coastal waters, strong workforce, and workforce development systems.
More than 750 Virginia-based workers – nearly 530 in the Hampton Roads region – have been engaged on the project or with other businesses supporting it, including redevelopment work at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, construction of the offshore wind Monitoring and Coordination Center, maritime provisioning, ship repairs, divers, heavy lift and rigging, cyber security, food service and hospitality.
In fact, the offloading of the foundations was supported by union workers from the International Longshoremen’s Association, the largest union of maritime workers in North America.
Moving forward, more than 1,000 local jobs will be needed to support ongoing operations and maintenance.
At the celebration, Gov. Youngkin called the project “exciting.”
“I have to thank the entire Dominion team because this project is on time and on budget. And, candidly, it particularly matters when we’re seeing projects up and down the East Coast be delayed or canceled because they aren’t on time or on budget,” he said.
Additionally, offshore wind will support Virginia’s energy needs in the future, he said.
“Virginia is growing,” Youngkin said. “Jobs are growing and opportunity is growing, and therefore we need to have a growing supply of power.”
For more info, visit CoastalVAWind.com