It’s a phenomenon that’s sweeping the nation, from coast to coast
In August, the Port of Virginia reached an agreement to lease 72 acres of the 287-acre Portsmouth Marine Terminal to Dominion Energy for the staging and pre-assembly of components for the 2,600-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind farm. Virginia has a legislative target to generate 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2034, to be supplied in part by the Dominion Energy project, located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The Port of Virginia, noted Dominion Energy CEO Robert Blue, “has deep water access, no overhead restrictions” and “is perfectly situated to serve the Virginia offshore wind project and grow the domestic supply chain needed to complete other offshore wind projects in the United States.”
The connection between offshore wind energy and local port development has been evident for some time. The United States lags behind Europe in the development of wind energy and its infrastructures, but that has provided policymakers on this side of the Atlantic an example from afar on how the offshore industry can stimulate economic development and create jobs in their comunities.
Benefits of Wind: Grimbsy, England
The town of Grimsby, England, is one case of a community that has benefitted from the development of a port facility to support offshore wind. Grimsby was once a struggling fishing village, but that changed when an offshore wind port brought a supply chain of manufacturers, suppliers, support vessels, and services to the town. Within a few years, Grimsby saw significant economic growth thanks to the offshore wind industry.
In 2019, the Danish offshore wind developer Ørsted, a key player in the New Jersey wind story, opened an expanded operations and maintenance (O&M) hub in the port of Grimsby, where offshore-related activities had been ongoing since 2010, after investing $12.3 million at the Grimsby Royal Dock and surrounding areas. The hub, which employs over 350 workers, serves as an O&M base for five of Ørsted’s operational wind parks in British waters, and a sixth to become operational in 2022. A report from the think tank Green Alliance found that hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in investments flowed into Grimsby even before Ørsted’s 2019 expansion.
The offshore wind industry “is creating high-value jobs and helping to offset the long-term decline of employment in other local industries like fishing,” said Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance.
The offshore wind industry in Grimsby brought “a range of economic benefits to the town,” the Green Alliance report found, including the prospect of stable, long-term jobs. “A typical offshore wind farm has an operating life of 25 years,” the report…
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