The State of Virginia has announced an agreement for Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy to establish the first offshore wind turbine blade facility in the United States, propelling construction of the country’s largest new renewable energy project.
Virginia-based Dominion Energy had previously selected the company as its partner for the energy generation project 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Next, Siemens Gamesa will lease more than 80 acres of the Commonwealth’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal and will build a facility to produce turbine blades supplying offshore wind projects in North America.
The facility, combined with its operations and maintenance activities, will create a total of 310 new jobs, of which roughly 50 will be service jobs to support the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project. The project represents a total cost of $200 million, including over $80 million in investments for buildings and equipment at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
The announcement comes two months to the day after Dominion Energy agreed to lease 72 acres of the deep-water Portsmouth Marine Terminal as a staging and pre-assembly area for the foundations and turbines. Once fully constructed in 2026, Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project will generate enough clean, sustainable energy to power up to 660,000 homes at peak and avoid as much as 5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the company reports.
The announcement also comes 18 months after the Virginia Clean Economy Act, cemented Virginia’s commitment to clean and renewable energy. The law sets a target for Dominion Energy to construct or purchase at least 5,200 megawatts of energy through offshore wind by 2034 and to achieve 100 percent carbon-free energy production by 2045.
For more than 40 years, Siemens Gamesa has been a pioneer and leader in the wind industry, and today its team of more than 25,000 people is working at the heart of the global energy revolution to address the climate crisis—the most important challenge of our generation. With a leading position in onshore, offshore, and services, Siemens Gamesa designs, builds, and delivers powerful and reliable wind energy solutions in close collaboration with its customers. As a global company with local impact, it has installed more than 110 GW across the world and provides access to clean, affordable, and sustainable energy.
“Offshore wind energy will create jobs and economic prosperity across the country, and with President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, we’re showing that the United States is open for business on clean energy,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Virginia is helping lead the way to strengthen the nation’s domestic supply chains of renewable energy and keep energy prices affordable for American households as we strive for a cleaner future.”
“We at Siemens Gamesa have shown the offshore wind industry the way for over 30 years. Establishing the industry’s first dedicated offshore wind turbine blade facility in the United States proves again that we are leading the offshore revolution,” said Marc Becker, Chief Executive Officer of the Siemens Gamesa Offshore Business Unit. “The U.S. offshore market is a critical part of our overall global strategy, with our presence in Virginia playing a crucial and central role. Our investment – reaching triple-digit millions of U.S. dollars – would be energized by the strong collaboration with Dominion Energy and support of Virginia’s legislature and authorities.”
“Virginia is leading the way in offshore wind and using blades from this new facility in Hampton Roads on our Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is a major win for the region,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy Chair, President, and Chief Executive Officer. “It is great to see well-paying, clean energy jobs are on the horizon as an offshore wind supply chain develops here in Virginia.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with The Port of Virginia, Dominion Energy, the City of Portsmouth, the Hampton Roads Alliance, and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. The Commonwealth will support the project through MEI-approved Virginia Public Building Authority bonds of up to $17.1 million to support infrastructure improvements and site preparation required for the construction of the facility.
Support for job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners, with funding support from the Northam administration and the Virginia General Assembly.
Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.
“The Port of Virginia is a major economic driver for the Hampton Roads region, as evidenced by Siemens Gamesa’s decision to establish its offshore wind turbine blade facility at the Portsmouth Marine terminal,” said Delegate Don Scott. “We thank all the partners involved in this major project that will create new jobs and put Virginia on the map as a leader in the offshore wind industry.”