Offshore Wind Supply Chain and Service Industry Engagement Opportunities
During the course of the Commonwealth’s 2018 supply chain opportunity analysis, the Virginia Offshore Wind Team, led by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), worked with BVG Associates LLC (BVGA) and its North American and global partners with extensive offshore wind industry experience to engage with Hampton Roads economic and workforce development officials, businesses leaders and maritime asset holders. The Team collaborates with experts and stakeholders in three key areas: Partnerships, Workforce and Business Incentives / Business Climate.
Virginia’s Hampton Roads region offers a number of unique competitive advantages over other offshore wind business locations on the East Coast. Infrastructure, assets and maritime employment in the Hampton Roads region are unmatched by any other port in the entire United States. In meetings with DMME, industry prospects have described the ability to build partnerships and utilize local assets as a primary driver in their decision-making process.
As a result, DMME has engaged the Virginia Maritime Association (VMA) and the Virginia Ship Repair Association (VSRA), members of which are comprised of local asset owners and managers. The VSRA alone boasts 265 member companies, many with industrial scale waterfront capabilities located within the Hampton Roads proximity. The Partnerships Team is focused on identifying current Virginia suppliers (service providers and manufactures) with core maritime- and manufacturing-related expertise.
As part of the Commonwealth’s 2018 supply chain opportunity analysis, BVGA created the Virginia Offshore Wind Supply Chain Resource Network Directory, which connects offshore wind developers, wind turbine suppliers and other prime contractors with Virginia professional services, manufacturers, equipment and material suppliers and other general service providers relative to all phases of an offshore wind project. Supply chain prospects are encouraged to promote their services by adding their information to the Virginia Offshore Wind Supply Chain New Supplier Form.
With a maritime labor force unmatched by any other East Coast state, workforce represents a significant advantage for Virginia. Understanding that labor metrics alone do not alleviate risk, Virginia is working with local labor and workforce development interests to address workforce issues associated with the offshore wind industry. These efforts are structured to provide pathways for industry prospects and to ease workforce concerns through the creation of a talent pipeline.
As part of the Commonwealth’s 2018 supply chain opportunity analysis, BVGA worked with the Workforce Team, which provides a vital link to an existing network of recruiting and training resources and is best positioned to address and deploy strategies that further enhance the existing maritime labor pool. This Team is also looking beyond the traditional labor market and seeks to diversify the maritime pool with a younger generation attracted to the offshore wind clean energy message.
Business Incentives / Business Climate Team
Virginia has a number of business climate advantages that make it an attractive place to locate new industry. However, early adopter states in the Northeast are driving the conversation around offshore wind development through approved incentives and project bids. While this current activity is attracting early-adopter business to the Northeast, Virginia sees the U.S East Coast development as a long-term play. With a 20-year schedule for development that spans from Maine to South Carolina and a projected service industry lifetime of over 50 years, Virginia is a prime location for the siting of offshore wind businesses. Those locating in Virginia will have a competitive edge when it means the most as the industry matures and development moves down the U.S coastline. Development of Virginia’s demonstration project and the future build-out of Virginia’s Wind Energy Area (WEA) further strengthen the Commonwealth's position as a natural host to many of the key offshore wind supply chain sectors.
Virginia seeks to build a business incentive package that compliments its business climate in order to provide clarity in available incentives and to close incentive gaps needed for long-term decision-making. To that end, the Virginia Offshore Wind Team has engaged with local and regional economic development offices and is consolidating existing state and local incentives as a resource for marketing offshore wind business interests.
As part of the Commonwealth’s 2018 supply chain opportunity analysis, BVGA worked with the Business Incentives / Business Climate Team to develop an objective review detailing areas in which Virginia may improve its attractiveness to the offshore wind supply chain in the form of policy and business incentives. The analysis also includes a review of incentives that state, regional and local economic development offices offer and recommendations to improve incentives for potential supply chain companies.