~ Calls for incentives to spur domestic offshore wind supply chain production that would benefit U.S. coastal communities like Hampton Roads ~
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) participated in a virtual Senate Finance Committee hearing on policies that would help combat climate change while securing reliable and affordable sources of domestic energy. During the hearing, Sen. Warner focused on the offshore wind energy industry in the United States, which is projected to become a $50 billion business over the next 30 years – one that Virginia could greatly benefit from, due to its diverse maritime industry, workforce, port assets, wide channels, and no overhead obstructions.
“Here in Virginia, we are taking bold steps to modernize our energy economy – particularly through the development of offshore wind. The Commonwealth is currently in the midst of developing a 2.6 gigawatt commercial offshore wind project — the first in federal waters. When fully operational it will be capable of providing clean, renewable energy to more than 650,000 homes in Virginia. It is currently the largest announced offshore wind project in federal waters,” said Sen. Warner during today’s hearing.
The coast of Virginia is currently home to two wind turbines, with a larger 2,640-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project led by Dominion Energy on the way. Dominion submitted the Construction and Operations Plan for the 2,640-megawatt offshore wind project to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in December 2020. Construction on the commercial project is expected to begin in 2024 and is expected to be completed by 2026. During the hearing, Sen. Warner highlighted the importance of the U.S. becoming competitive in the offshore wind industry – including the production of blades, turbines, generators – which are critical for offshore wind development.
“The Global Wind Energy Council has said that the outlook for wind energy is going to ramp exponentially. In fact, it will jump from ~13,000 MW/year in 2024 to over 20,000 MW/year in 2025, which is all good news but it also means there will be more competition for capital. What can this committee and the Biden administration do to make sure that the U.S. is more successful in attracting domestic and international capital and how can we make sure that we maintain that supply chain? One of things we are trying to do in Virginia is that we are trying to make sure that those wind turbines are made in Virginia as they help produce wind energy for Virginians and others,” continued Sen. Warner.
During the hearing, Sen. Warner also underscored the need for BOEM to speed up their approval process for various offshore wind projects. Last month, after hearing from concerned Virginians and stakeholders – including at an offshore wind roundtable in Hampton Roads in February – Sen. Warner fired off a letter to BOEM urging them to approve the commercial project that is at risk of experiencing delays.
“This is an area that we have bipartisan agreement, that we need a faster regulatory review and approval process and BOEM needs the resources to get that done,” concluded Sen. Warner.