Siemens Gamesa and Dominion Energy, a Spanish turbine manufacturer, announced that they will establish the first factory in the United States to produce blades for offshore wind power, as part of ambitions to establish a regional supply base for the industry. Dominion (D.N) and Siemens Gamesa (SGREN.MC) will invest $200 million to create a blade factory situated in Portsmouth, Virginia, adjacent to a maritime cargo area Dominion is leasing to create turbines for its venture, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, (CVOW). The factory is scheduled to be completed in 2025.
Dominion expects that CVOW, which will be roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) off the Virginia coast, will be the country’s largest offshore wind farm, with 180 800-foot-tall (245 m) turbines. CVOW would have a capability of 2.6 gigawatts, sufficient to power 660,000 houses, and is projected to be completed in 2026, depending on permits. “You’re seeing elements fall into place to support not only our CVOW project, but the viability of offshore wind on East Coast,” stated Mark Mitchell, a senior vice president in charge of project construction at Dominion.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is conducting an environmental evaluation of CVOW, which is projected to be finished in mid-2023. It also requires Virginia’s consent. As part of the plan to reduce carbon emissions from the power grid by 2035, President Biden has set a target of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind generation by 2030.
Dominion is also leading the development of the Charybdis, a $500 million ship that will be the first in the country to conform with the Jones Act, which is century-old legislation that requires products transported between United States ports to be transported by locally built vessels. The blade plant will employ roughly 260 people, according to Steve Dayney, Siemens Gamesa’s head of offshore in North America.
The facility will supply 500 blades to CVOW, but it will also consider new projects, similar to how Siemens Gamesa’s blade facility in Hull, UK, is growing to become a regional center. “This is a significant step forward in the development of the offshore business as a whole, and a demonstration of all the gains that offshore can offer to the United States, as it has in other places like Europe or Taiwan,” Dayney added.
Terry McAuliffe, who is a Democrat running for governor on November 2, has been a proponent of wind power. Glenn Youngkin, who is a Republican governor candidate, supports wind power but warns that it could boost consumer electricity rates and criticizes the state’s clean energy legislation. Virginia has supported offshore wind “from the beginning,” according to Dayney, and “we trust that all stakeholders are looking ahead to making it a success.”