“This is about your future,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on the shores of the Elizabeth River on Friday, August 3, 2018. The Hampton Roads Chamber joined Governor Ralph Northam, our Strategic Partner, Dominion Energy and Chamber member, Ørsted North America for the launch of the research vessel Gerry Bordelon. This is a major milestone in offshore wind development in Virginia.
The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind, (CVOW) project is a partnership between Dominion Energy and Ørsted North America, and the vessel will conduct surveys of the construction area for the project’s dual wind turbines, as well as search the sea floor for anything that may hinder the construction.
“The goal is to be generating emissions-free energy for customers by the end of 2020,” Dominion Energy, Chairman, President and CEO, Thomas Farrell, said. The announcement and tour of the vessel coincided with Dominion Energy filing for CVOW approval with the SCC. “This project will give us the opportunity to prove that wind turbines can safely coexist in the same waters as the world’s largest naval station. To the people of Hampton Roads, it means a significant economic impact,” Farrell said.
“The wind energy initiative would mean the diversification of our economy and the creation of good, high paying jobs,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander. Members of the General Assembly, Senator Frank Wagner and Delegate Jay Jones were present, amongst others who championed the legislature that made this possible through the passing of the Grid Transformation and Security Act.
Ørsted North America, President, Thomas Brostrøm, said, “As a leader in wind energy we are excited to bring our expertise to North America. This will be our first experience construction off shore wind in the United States and marks a significant step in creating clean, renewable energy.” This wind farm would be only the second such project in the United States and the first utility owned operation in federal waters.
The Gerry Bodrelon departed to embark on the CVOW site, approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach on over 2,000 acres of federal waters leased by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Though the turbines will be over 500 feet above the ocean’s surface, they will not be visible from the shoreline. The vessel will spend the next month conducting research needed for the project.
The Hampton Roads Chamber was proud to be a part of the announcement. The Chamber means business and as an impactful advocate, the Chamber supports the economic catalyst that wind energy brings to our region.