Virginia Beach offshore wind power supporters push leaders to be more aggressive

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Supporters of offshore wind generation are pushing for Virginia leaders to be more aggressive in their efforts to bring the industry to Hampton Roads.

Last July, Dominion Energy announced they would partner with Denmark-based power company Orsted to build two 6-megawatt wind turbines 24 nautical miles — or 27 land miles — off the coast of Virginia Beach. 

The wind energy will be exported back to shore at Camp Pendleton through underground cable. Once it reaches land, the wind power will be transported to an onshore grid interconnection, according to Dominion Energy.

The turbines will produce enough clean energy to power 3,000 Virginia Beach homes. They will not be visible from shore, and should be in place by 2020.

The power company has made clear that this is only phase one of a plan they hope brings more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generated electricity to the area. The U.S. Department of the Interior has designated 113,000 acres off Virginia’s coast for future mills. 

However, the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter wants to see Virginia’s governor craft a longterm plan for offshore wind energy. They believe it will not only be good for the environment, but also the local economy. 

On Monday night, several experts from the industry spoke to Virginia Beach residents at a town hall held at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.

“Right now there are no offshore wind components that are manufactured in the U.S.,” said Adam Forrer with the Southeastern Wind Coalition. “As the industry starts to come to the U.S., that means $100 million facilities are going to be locating somewhere near the demand for off shore wind turbines.”

Will Payne, the chief deputy of Virginia’s state energy office, estimates 14,000 jobs could be generated in Hampton Roads if the region invests in the new technology.

On Wednesday, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy will announce that a firm has been hired to provide a strategic plan to make Virginia an East Coast hub for the offshore wind energy industry.

Virginia Beach City Council is also expected to take up a resolution, throwing their support behind the project. 

Note: An earlier version of this story attributed to Will Payne that 1,400 jobs could be generated in Hampton Roads by Offshore wind power. We regret the error. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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