PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Dominion Energy will use part of the Port of Virginia’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal as a staging and pre-assembly area for Dominion’s $8 billion wind energy project off the coast of Virginia Beach.

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Currently Dominion is operating a two-turbine pilot project 27 miles off the coast, 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.

Through the agreement announced Wednesday in Richmond by Gov. Ralph Northam, Dominion will use 72 acres of the terminal for staging and pre-assembly of the foundations and turbines.

Gov. Northam speaks at the offshore wind conference in Richmond on August 25, 2021

“This location at the Port of Virginia is second to none,” said chair, president, and CEO of Dominion Energy Robert M. Blue. “It has deep water access, no overhead restrictions, a strong, experienced maritime workforce and sufficient space for these large wind infrastructure components. It 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.”

It’s big news for the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, which had closed in 2020 due to a decline in shipping volume related to the pandemic.

The term for the lease is 10 years, Northam’s office says and is valued at nearly $4.4 million annually. The lease includes an option for two five-year renewals and includes major upgrades to make sure the terminal can handle the weight of the large components to build the turbines.

Two of the offshore wind turbines have been constructed off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., Monday June 29, 2020. Two wind turbines are part of an offshore wind turbine project. The turbines will begin operation in August. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

“Virginia’s agreement with Dominion Energy accelerates the Commonwealth’s transition to clean, renewable energy, creates good-paying jobs, and expands Virginia’s economy,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This partnership also positions the Port of Virginia as the hub of this emerging industry, and Virginia as the forerunner in offshore wind.”

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.

Northam and Blue both spoke at the Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum in Richmond. The three-day event is the largest offshore wind conference in the Western Hemisphere.