Posted February 26, 2020
Climate change is a global challenge which can best be addressed through partnerships, bringing together expertise from around the world. The combination of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Dominion Energy to advance offshore wind power in the United States is an example of how private industry can drive innovation and, with public policy support, help provide solutions for one of the world’s most important concerns
Dominion Energy is focused on bringing clean and renewable energy to Virginians to address this urgent issue. In addition to owning the fourth-largest solar portfolio in the United States among utility holding companies, it is now developing the largest offshore wind power project in the country. The project will provide enough electricity to power up to 650,000 Virginia homes once completed in 2026. The massive 2,640-megawatt project will draw upon experiences gained from a two-turbine pilot project off the coast of Virginia Beach, currently being prepared for completion in 2020.
The company recently selected Siemens Gamesa as its preferred turbine supplier for the project. Siemens Gamesa is the global market leader in offshore wind power, with more than 27 years of experience and more than 15 gigawatts of capacity installed. Safety, reliability, performance and a dedication to lowering the cost of electricity from offshore wind are key elements in their work.
The combined efforts of Dominion Energy and Siemens Gamesa will help advance the offshore wind industry in the United States and advance the clean energy economy in Virginia. The commonwealth is already ranked seventh in the United States for solar power growth over the next five years, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association, and offshore wind has the potential to create 160,000 new jobs in the United States by 2050, according to the Department of Energy’s Wind Vision report.
While still in its infancy in the U.S., the demand for wind power continues to grow. Four states generate more than 30% of their energy from wind. The expansion of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project is a critical step in achieving Gov. Ralph Northam’s goals of 30% renewable power generation by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
Along with a cleaner energy future, the expansion of wind power will give Virginians a more efficient energy future that will reduce costs over time. Offshore wind power infrastructure provides renewable energy with no additional fuel or import costs, setting Virginia toward an affordable and independent energy future. Siemens Gamesa’s cutting-edge, Offshore Direct Drive technology will provide durable and reliable turbines built to last with very low maintenance costs.
To further reduce customer costs, Dominion Energy and Siemens Gamesa are working closely together to evaluate opportunities for supply chain development in Virginia. The manufacturing, transportation and construction of this enormous project will take a herculean effort, one that we hope to be able to share with Virginia’s workforce to truly build a clean and renewable energy economy prepared for 2050’s net zero carbon goals.
Offshore wind power has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Virginia and diversify the economy in Hampton Roads. Northam recently announced in his State of the Commonwealth address the establishment of an economic office for offshore wind and a directive to the Port of Virginia to begin expansion to prepare for the project. These commitments further highlight the importance of this project to the commonwealth, not just in terms of clean energy, but in completely transitioning Virginia to a clean energy economy. Across the world, nations are building and modernizing their economies around clean and renewable energy, and Virginia is poised and determined to do the same.
Commercial offshore wind power will be a giant leap not only for Virginia, but the entire United States. Using the development and success of the offshore wind industry in Europe as a guide, Dominion Energy and Siemens Gamesa will set the standard for offshore wind power development across America. It will take monumental efforts to tackle carbon emissions and the growing concern of climate change, and we are proud to lead the way.
Steve Dayney is head of Offshore, North America, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. Mark Mitchell is vice president of Generation Construction, Dominion Energy.