WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland joined Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Senator Tim Kaine, Norfolk and local elected officials, and representatives of the offshore wind industry in Norfolk today to discuss opportunities that will create jobs and strengthen the local economy. This announcement reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to develop 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030, which will create an estimated 80,000 jobs.
Secretary Haaland was joined by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management Laura Daniel-Davis and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton to announce the initiation of BOEM’s environmental review for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Commercial (CVOW-C) project. If approved, the project would be the first commercial wind project offshore Virginia. It would be owned and operated by Dominion Energy.
“The demand for offshore wind energy has never been greater. Recent technological advances, falling costs, and tremendous economic potential make offshore wind a promising avenue for diversifying our national energy portfolio, creating good-paying union jobs, and tackling climate change,” said Secretary Haaland. “Today’s tour and meetings were a great chance to learn about the Commonwealth’s continued leadership role in developing the offshore wind industry and attracting and supporting the domestic supply chain.”
The offshore wind industry includes a wide range of sectors, such as manufacturing, installation, operations and maintenance, and support services. Advancing the domestic offshore wind industry and supply chain will require strong partnerships between the federal government and states.
“Virginia is all in on offshore wind. We are developing the infrastructure, workforce, supply chain, and manufacturing capabilities needed to capture the many benefits of this emerging industry,” said Governor Northam. “This announcement puts our Commonwealth on a path to harnessing the power of wind to produce affordable and reliable renewable energy, create thousands of new jobs, and meet our ambitious climate goals. We are grateful for the federal government’s partnership as we work to advance our clean energy future with this large-scale commercial wind project along Virginia’s coast.”
“Investing in clean energy is an invaluable investment in our future,” said Senator Kaine. “I was so glad to join Governor Northam today in welcoming Secretary Haaland on her tour of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project in Hampton Roads — among the first in the nation to use the new federal permitting initiative. Virginia is grateful for the Secretary’s announcement, and I will continue to support Virginia’s growing offshore wind industry to protect the environment, create jobs, and strengthen our clean energy economy.”
Located approximately 23.5 nautical miles offshore Virginia, the CVOW-C project calls for the construction and operation of up to 205 turbines capable of generating up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity. During development and construction, the CVOW-C project would generate an average of approximately 900 jobs from 2020-2026, with a peak of approximately 1,500 jobs in 2024 and 2025. During operations and maintenance, the CVOW-C project would support about 1,100 long-term jobs.
The project proposal includes three offshore substations with two possible cable landfall locations in Virginia Beach. The energy produced would help Virginia reach its legislated goal of securing 5.2 GW of offshore energy by 2034. More information about the CVOW-C project, BOEM’s environmental review, and the virtual public meetings may be found on BOEM’s CVOW-C project page.
BOEM and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently entered into an agreement that will allow the Army Corps to provide BOEM with the additional scientific and technical resources needed to evaluate offshore wind projects on the Outer Continental Shelf. While the scope of the agreement covers all renewable energy activities in the Atlantic, the initial focus will be on the review of this project, as well as the Kitty Hawk project, offshore North Carolina.
The Secretary and group toured the Port of Virginia, one of the nation’s world-class maritime facilities, which is being retrofitted to meet the anticipated needs of the growing offshore wind industry. The open-air port features terminal space and high lift capacities that will be necessary in the construction of offshore wind projects in the Mid-Atlantic. Ports such as this one, and others throughout the United States, will help attract the offshore wind supply chain, create good-paying jobs and attract economic development.
The leaders discussed the needs of the offshore wind industry, including workforce training. Governor Northam highlighted the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance, Virginia’s first offshore and onshore wind workforce training collaborative. The program will offer industry-required certifications that are critical to the operations and long-term maintenance of wind projects. Training programs such as this one will be vital to meet the needs of an industry that could create nearly 80,000 jobs nationwide by 2030.