Posted on June 12, 2023
Offshore wind projects are taking shape along the US East Coast. Some are newly identified areas for future development, others are in the permitting phase, and a few are already under construction.
Businesses that operate out of Virginia Beach are strategically positioned to reach all US East Coast offshore wind projects. As a result, the city is rapidly gaining traction with offshore wind players.
The giant 2,500 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, and its neighbouring 3,500 MW Kitty Hawk Offshore project, are located 27 miles and 41 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach respectively, and both will have onshore cable terminations in Virginia Beach.
While these are sizeable projects, they are only the tip of the iceberg in US offshore wind development.
Last year, several new offshore wind development areas were identified along the US East Coast. Eight are in the Mid-Atlantic planning area, off Virginia and neighbouring states, promising a pipeline of energy generation and opportunity.
As states and utilities continue to set ambitious renewable energy targets, the demand for offshore wind power will likely increase. These new development areas will be vital to meeting this demand, further reinforcing Virginia Beach’s prime location on the Eastern Seaboard.
Correll Group, a leader in high-voltage electrical engineering and the installation of land and subsea cables, established its American headquarters in Virginia Beach last year.
While the Middlesborough-based company initially chose Virginia Beach for its location at the midpoint of the United States East Coast, executives quickly recognised that having a US base of operations would help the company win offshore wind business in this new market.
“With the ongoing support of the Department of Economic Development, our group was established successfully and smoothly in Virginia Beach, which allowed us to hit the ground running,” said Geoff Briggs, operations director.
“This move has proven to be a wise decision for our business, as it made it possible to secure opportunities and grow our operations and network in a way that would not have been possible without a US address, and one at the epicentre of offshore wind activity.”
Correll Group opened its office in the Town Center of Virginia Beach, using the city’s International Incubator as its home base. The International Incubator, affiliated with the OrbisEnergy incubator based in Lowestoft, is geared towards incoming overseas companies needing space to get their operations off the ground and grow their sales volume before establishing their own office or manufacturing facility in the city.
The incubator is strategically located in the central business district, offers dedicated office facilities, and assists tenants with a variety of resources and a supportive network of specialists that are best equipped to help new-to-market companies, including immigration attorneys, international bankers, and more.
Seajacks, a provider of installation and maintenance vessels to the offshore wind sector, is another newcomer to the city. The Great Yarmouth-based firm established an operational base in Virginia Beach last year. Its vessel, Charybdis, owned and operated by Dominion Energy, the utility behind the CVOW project, will soon be operational and will work on offshore projects in the US Northeast until construction of CVOW begins in late 2024.
Other advantages of being in Virginia Beach include the proximity to world-class facilities at The Port of Virginia and two major offshore wind port facilities: Portsmouth Marine Terminals (PMT) and Fairwinds Landing. The Port of Virginia is one of only two East Coast ports with zero air draft and horizontal clearance restrictions, making it ideally suited for offshore wind development.
Virginia Beach also has strong maritime and naval business sectors and a large military veteran workforce. From a recruitment standpoint, the availability of skilled talent is a strong selling point for Virginia Beach.
Local academic institutions are also actively supporting the growing industry by creating training programmes to elevate the skills of the existing talent pool and support the needs of the private sector.
Virginia Beach stands out in the US offshore wind industry mainly due to its strategic position along the Mid-Atlantic coast, which provides access to current and future offshore wind projects. At the same time, its pro-business environment and skilled workforce make it an attractive destination for companies seeking to invest in this burgeoning sector.
The state’s commitment to renewable energy and its favourable regulatory framework also contribute to the city’s swift rise as a leader in offshore wind development.
With its unique location, resources and support, Virginia Beach is becoming the premier destination for offshore wind businesses from around the world looking to thrive and positively impact the environment.