The bottom line is we need to urgently pursue a series of actions and adopt policy that will position Virginia and Hampton Roads to win the economic benefits in the development of the offshore wind supply chain.
On May 28, a coalition of groups — ODU, the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and the ReInvent Hampton Roads — will host a forum about the future of offshore wind, featuring a panel discussion with many of the leaders working to transform those dreams into a tangible reality.
The offshore wind industry offers significant economic potential for Virginia and for the entire the east coast. The federal Department of Energy estimates the industry could employ up to 40,000 people by 2030. With our low tax burden, highly skilled workforce and world class port infrastructure, Virginia is well-positioned to capture these economic benefits and become a hub for the offshore wind supply chain.
Offshore wind — and the ability to serve as a national-level power generation, distribution and logistical Atlantic coast hub for this market — is an opportunity that should not be missed. As we have done with port modernization and sea-level rise, ODU has the technical, logistical and academic expertise to leverage a group of public and private sector leaders to capture this potential.
Gov. Ralph Northam is pushing a plan for Virginia — and Hampton Roads — to become a supply chain and service hub for offshore wind energy development in the Atlantic. The plan is part of a “roadmap” that the governor’s office recently released on ways to attract investors, developers and manufacturers as the offshore wind industry gathers steam in the U.S.
Governor Ralph Northam released a report providing a roadmap for Virginia to develop an offshore wind supply chain to serve emerging offshore wind projects along the East Coast. The report analyzed Virginia’s potential strategic role in the rapidly emerging US offshore wind industry. The recommendations include establishing a regional supply chain collaborative with neighboring states, creating a Virginia Office for Offshore Wind, soliciting anchor tenant suppliers, and expanding workforce development opportunities.
The dredging project will take the channels to 55 feet deep and widen them in select areas to allow for two-way traffic of ultra-large containerships. A channel that is equipped to handle two-way vessel traffic increases the pace of commerce and makes way for the expeditious movement of Navy vessels in a time of need.
“Virginia has great assets,” [Business Network for Offshore Wind executive director Liz] Burdock said, adding that she could envision the Hampton Roads area evolving into a hub for fabricating steel turbine foundations. Her nonprofit, founded in 2012, focuses on beefing up the U.S. supply chain up and down the East Coast.
The budget about to be signed by Gov. Ralph Northam includes $350 million to kick-start a major dredging project in the shipping channel. If the project goes forward, shipping channels in the port of Hampton Roads will go from 50 feet to 55 feet in some places, surpassing Los Angeles, the busiest port in the nation. A Northam spokeswoman said the expansion would increase the port’s capacity by 40 percent or, put another way, 1 million more containers.