In a new deal just announced by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, the European wind energy company Ørsted will lease part of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal for at least the next six years.
Ørsted will use the Norfolk Harbor site to stage materials and equipment for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, as well as its other East Coast projects. The company plans to install nearly 3,000 megawatts of wind energy projects in the U.S. between now and 2026, the length of the initial 1.7 acre lease.
The agreement also includes options to expand to an additional 40 acres. That full lease could be worth nearly $13 million to the port, and could come with more than $20 million in site upgrades to prepare the terminal for heavy-duty tasks like wind turbine pre-assembly and loading.
Virginia leaders say the agreement moves Hampton Roads closer to becoming an “offshore wind hub.”
“With the Port of Virginia at its helm, the Hampton Roads region has the trained workforce and the nautical know-how to become a vital hub for offshore wind development,” says Governor Northam.
The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project calls for the development of two 6-megawatt wind turbines on a lease site that is 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. It is a partnership between Ørsted and Dominion Energy and will serve as a demonstration project to determine best practices for future large-scale wind farms. It will be the first offshore wind project installed in federal waters.
Thomas Brostrøm, President and CEO of Ørsted North America, Offshore, says, “Much activity will be taking place in Virginia and beyond in the coming months and years, and Portsmouth Marine Terminal is well-situated to meet our needs both now and in the future.”
Ørsted currently has wind farms underway or planned in the U.S., Denmark, the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, and Taiwan. They are behind the Skipjack Wind Farm, one of the two wind turbine developments planned off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland.
–Meg Walburn Viviano