Offshore Wind

The Virginia Beach offshore wind industry has taken off. At the leading edge of America’s newest energy business cluster.

A thriving offshore wind industry goes hand in hand with a thriving community onshore and the Virginia Beach region is ready for this new opportunity. This region of the East Coast was once the gateway for international exploration and expansion and now has significant potential for the development of offshore wind resources off its coast. We have an excellent opportunity to develop into one of the main offshore wind energy industry ports in the United States. Virginia Beach and our region are a hub for the East Coast to meet the needs of our current projects and those along the Eastern Seaboard.

Currently, there are two Commercial Offshore Wind Energy projects that will begin harnessing 5.1 GW offshore wind power off the Virginia Beach coast in the near future. These projects are an important first step toward offshore wind development for Virginia and the United States.

Estimated Economic Impact

5200
$16
5

Source: Mangum Economics, *Represents the number of jobs annually for every one gigawatt of new offshore wind energy development

In this report, you can read more about the impact that the construction and operation of the commercial CVOW project will have on the economies of Hampton Roads and of Virginia.

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) Pilot

After decades of planning, the announcement from Dominon Energy Inc. about the expansion of a test project came just days after Governor Northam issued an executive order 43 calling on state agencies to develop a plan for Virginia to produce 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and to be fully carbon-free by 2050.

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind-Dominion Energy includes two 6-MW turbines that sit on a 2,135-acre of federally owned waters located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Both turbines will generate 12 megawatts and power 3,000 homes at peak wind speeds.

The project's capital cost is $300 million and the major participants are Ørsted for the offshore installation and L.E. Meyers for the onshore installation.​​


Along with clean energy, this pilot project provided Dominion Energy with critical operational, weather, and environmental experience needed for large-scale development.

A Big Change is in the Air: Coming Online Between 2024 and 2026

Commercial Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Development

Building on the experience gained from the CVOW pilot, in September of 2019, Dominion Energy filed a request with PJM Interconnection for a commercial-scale offshore wind farm. Similarly, this project would be located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, on a 112,800-acre tract leased from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, adjacent to the aforementioned pilot project. The commercial project is scheduled to be built in three 880-megawatt phases, from 2024 to 2026, and would bring an additional 2.64 gigawatt (GW) of offshore wind energy online. In a commercial-scale buildout such as this, approximately 180 turbines can be erected; however, the exact quantity is subject to final project site conditions and the design layout of the wind farm. The average lifespan of a turbine is 20 years; however, it can last up to 25 years.

Siemens Gamesa has been provisionally selected to provide the turbines for the project and Ramboll has been designated as the owner’s engineer. As currently envisioned, this $7.8 billion project will be capable of generating enough electricity to power 660,000 homes. Source: Dominion Energy

This large scale offshore wind farm would be only the second offshore wind project in the nation and the first owned by an electric utility company. (Source: Dominon Energy)
Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind

Kitty Hawk Offshore is a wind project of Avangrid Renewables and will be the second commercial offshore wind project to bring offshore wind power to Virginia Beach. Avangrid Renewables began the process of studying the North Carolina/Virginia area in detail after acquiring the rights to develop the 122,405-acre lease area in 2017. This $5-$8 billion project has the potential to yield 2,5 GW of electricity which would be enough to power approximately 700,000 homes.

As part of the onshore project, Avangrid Renewable had secured options from Virginia Beach to acquire 20 acres of land in the Princess Anne Commons area and 30 acres in Corporate Landing Business Park to locate two substations. The regional investment is estimated to be between $60 ​- $310 million including the creation of ​11,500 jobs. The construction is anticipated to begin in 2024 with completion in 2026. Source: Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind

Only a Few Regions will Be the Winners

Virginia Beach MSA is the ideal location for the commercial development of the offshore wind industry. There is no other area on the east coast that is more capable of servicing the offshore wind supply chain. This is in part because we have the infrastructure, workforce, and commitment to clean and renewable energy:

  • The Port of Virginia: the region has one of the largest port areas on the East Coast with direct access to open ocean without any air draft restrictions or bridges
  • Business climate: Virginia has a history of fostering a good climate for business growth with lower costs of doing business (including lower labor costs), and lower taxes.
  • A skilled and talented workforce of more than 815,000: approximately 14,000 members of the military are available to enter the local workforce each year, along with more than 15,000 graduating college students and 18,222 graduating high school students (Sources: VEC, HRA, NCES, 2021)
  • Superior multi-modal transportation network
  • Low occurrence of hurricanes
  • Close proximity to electric-power infrastructure

Workforce Development

City of Virginia Beach and Tidewater Community College (TCC) Partnership

TCC and Virginia Beach began partnering together to ensure our workforce is prepared to support the offshore wind industry. Through the allocation of CARES Act funding, over $1.9 million has been dedicated to purchasing the necessary equipment to train students entering the offshore wind industry. TCC reviewed over 90 training programs and had close conversations with East Coast College in England to begin modeling their programs. Below is a breakdown of the type of equipment that has already been purchased.

  • Wind Turbine Training Equipment
  • Augmented Reality Welding Training Labs
  • Sea Survival Training Equipment
  • Heights Training (Climbing) Equipment

Augmented labs and classrooms are currently under construction. Wind turbine technology and examples will be integrated into existing technology and engineering programs in the Fall of 2021. TCC plans to start training its first full cohort in 2023, just in time for graduates to transition straight into the offshore wind workforce.

Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance

New College Institute, Centura College, and Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy joined forces and developed a program that offers industry-required certifications that are critical to the operations and long-term maintenance of wind projects. For more information on the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance, please visit vaoffshorewind.org/workforce.