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Rejoining Paris Climate Accord could benefit local offshore wind project

Dominion awarded $47m for wind turbines off Virginia Beach coast
Posted at 9:41 PM, Jan 25, 2021

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – The new White House administration has a new outlook on going green. President Joe Biden’s executive order to rejoin the Paris Agreement could get offshore wind energy off the ground in Hampton Roads.

“President Joe Biden signing the Paris Climate Accord and rejoining that indicates the United States is focused on renewable energy; offshore wind is a big part of that portfolio,” said Hampton Roads Alliance Chief Strategy Officer Nicole Ryf.

The Alliance is a partner on Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, which is moving forward.

The two massive turbines that were installed over the summer approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, are now connected to the power grid reducing our carbon footprint.

The goal is to have hundreds more turbines in the Atlantic by 2026.

“Once all the turbines have been installed – the full 2.6 gigawatts of energy - that will power 660,000 homes, which is huge,” said Ryf.

Old Dominion University is another partner on the project. ODU Professor of Economics Bob McNab said the push for renewable energy in Hampton Roads translates to more jobs and a boost to the economy.

“We have an industrial base; we have highly trained workers here,” he said.

With its port infrastructure, mammoth shipbuilding industry and maritime workforce, McNab said Hampton Roads is an ideal location to become a supply chain for offshore wind projects along the East Coast.

“One of the specialties we have here in the region is manufacturing; we build things well,” he said. “Once you build that capacity here to assemble those wind turbines, you can then ship them elsewhere in the United States, so it’s not one-time deal. You’re building a capacity to help build renewable wind power throughout the eastern seaboard.”

The renewed support in the agreement could also have a global impact.

According to Ryf, the international treaty creates more opportunities to attract investments from other countries, such as Europe where wind power is big.

“Having an administration that is behind the Paris Climate Accord and supporting renewable energy, that really signals to those European companies that this is a stable environment in which to invest,” she said. “Offshore wind, it’s a once in a generation opportunity to build a new industry here in Hampton Roads and in Virginia.”

For more information about Dominion Energy’s offshore wind project, click here.