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Gov. Northam, federal leaders announce next steps for offshore wind off Virginia Beach coast

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Posted at 12:59 PM, Jul 01, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - Right now, two wind turbines sit about 27-miles off the coast of Virginia Beach for Dominion Energy, but one day there could be about 200 of them.

On Thursday morning in Norfolk, Gov. Northam, Sen. Tim Kaine, and U.S. Sec. of Interior Deb Haaland announced the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will undergo an environmental review of a potential offshore wind project, which is the next step in the process of increasing Virginia's reliance on renewable energy.

"This is the first major milestone in the permitting process and we are thrilled that this project is moving forward," said Northam. "It will help the Commonwealth meet its full energy capacity."

The Biden administration has set a goal of creating about 80,000 jobs through developing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.

"Offshore wind is critical," said Haaland. "It's a critical part of the president's ambitious agenda."

Up next, the federal government will solicit public comment. If you're interested in offering feedback, there's more information here.

The environmental review could take up to two years, so more turbines going into the ocean is still potentially years off.

Gov. Northam said the project could create up to 14,000 jobs in Hampton Roads.

"This is a win-win. It's the right thing to do. We need to move away from carbon and it will also put people to work in well-paying jobs," said Northam.

Sen. Kaine said the project would help address the impacts of sea-level rise and climate change.

"For people who live in Hampton Roads, climate change isn't about tomorrow. It isn't about 50-years from now," he said. "It impacts every aspect of life - property values, military operations."