NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia leaders say a new deal marks a big step toward making Virginia a leader in wind energy and offshore wind manufacturing.
On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam visited Norfolk to announce an agreement with the company Ørsted to lease a portion of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal for offshore wind staging materials and equipment.
The agreement was ratified Tuesday by a unanimous vote of the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
According to the governor’s office, if the agreement is fully executed, the lease will run through at least 2026, during which time Ørsted plans to install nearly 3,000 megawatts of wind energy projects in the United States.
“This is a big step toward making Virginia a leader in wind energy and offshore wind manufacturing,” Northam said. “With The Port of Virginia at its helm, the Hampton Roads region has the trained workforce and the nautical know-how to become a vital hub for offshore wind development. We welcome Ørsted and look forward to the tremendous opportunities ahead of us.”
At the press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Northam said the agreement is, “a real win-win for Virginia today.”
Per the agreement, the Portsmouth Marine Terminal will be leasing up to 40 acres to Ørsted. Ørsted is assembling the first two wind turbines going up off the coast of Hampton Roads.
“We are starting with two turbines off our coast and we hope to expand that into 2,600 mega watts of wind energy off our shores.”
The governor says that will supply energy to 500,000 homes in Hampton Roads and create up to 14,000 jobs.
“That’s a lot of jobs,” Northam said. “Those are individuals that will be able to support their families, put food on the table and feed right back into our economy here.”
The agreement was ratified by a unanimous vote of the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners, including John Reinhart, CEO of Virginia Port Authority.
“It’s sending a message to the world that Virginia is serious about offshore drilling,” he said.
Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted North America says he is thrilled with the venture.
“[In the future] you could see blades, you could even see some of the tower, you will see components of the turbine and they will get assembled and they will basically be shipped or loaded out to the site where you will put them down into the sea bed,” he said.
The governor says this announcement is not just about Virginia.
“We have the potential to drive offshore wind, not just for Virginia but also for the entire East Coast. We are so well-positioned here in Hampton Roads with our port and we don’t have any bridges we have to go under,” Northam said.