Turbine blade facility for Dominion offshore wind project will bring 300-plus jobs to region

Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Dominion Energy will partner with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for its offshore wind project, Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday, bringing more than 300 new jobs to the region.

Siemens Gamesa will build a facility at Portsmouth’s Marine Terminal to produce wind turbine blades for the overall $8 billion project off the coast of Virginia Beach. The blade production project will cost $200 million, with $80 million in investment for buildings and equipment at the terminal.

Fifty of the roughly 310 new jobs with be service jobs for the offshore project, and there will be hundreds of other indirect jobs needed to support the overall project, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said Monday. Granholm and other speakers emphasized how production and upkeep of the project will come from American workers.

“Virginians want renewable energy, our employers want it, and Virginia is delivering it,” Northam said. “The Commonwealth is joining these leading companies to create the most important clean-energy partnership in the United States. This is good news for energy customers, the union workers who will bring this project to life, and our business partners. Make no mistake: Virginia is building a new industry in renewable energy, with more new jobs to follow, and that’s good news for our country.”

Building the blades at the Port with its deep water access makes it much cheaper to transport them than it does from Europe, Granholm told WAVY.

“Offshore wind is so huge — I mean literally the supplies are so massive that it’s very expensive to transport,” Granholm siad.

Dominion Energy CEO Bob Blue put it in perspective.

“These are 820-foot turbines out in the ocean and the blades themselves are longer than a football field,” he said.

Blue told WAVY he believes that having a facility like this in the beginning of a building supply chain in the U.S. is an advantage for Virginia.

From the podium, he said, “Just as Pittsburgh became synonymous with the steel industry in an earlier era and silicon valley is synonymous with advanced technology today, Hampton Roads could become synonymous not only with the maritime industry but now with offshore wind,”

The announcement is two months to the day that Dominion announced that they would use part of Portsmouth Marine Terminal as a staging and pre-assembly area for Dominion’s $8 billion project.

Currently, Dominion is operating a two-turbine pilot project 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, but plans call for 180 of the 14-megawatt turbines with construction starting in 2024.

The project is expected to provide enough electricity for 660,000 homes when complete.

Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act back in April 2020, which set a target of 2034 for producing at least 5,200 megawatts of energy through offshore wind and a target of 2045 for Dominion to achieve 100 percent carbon-free energy production.

Virginia was the first southern state to create this clean energy standard.

The offshore wind energy industry will be worth $109 billion to businesses in its supply chain over the next 10 years, according to the Associated Press.

10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox recently visited the wind farm that takes nearly two hours to reach. The two turbines produce enough electricity for 3,000 homes.

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