A new report has found that the offshore wind industry in Virginia could create thousands of jobs and add more than $700 million to Virginia’s economy. The report, spearheaded by Richmond consulting firm Mangum Economics and funded by the Hampton Roads Alliance, identified that annual operation and maintenance of offshore wind will support more than 1,100 jobs and $210 million in annual economic output.
For every one gigawatt of offshore wind energy electricity installed and serviced in the Hampton Roads region the study projects the creation of:
• 5,200 direct and indirect Virginia jobs annually (almost all in Hampton Roads)
• $270 million in pay and benefits
• $740 million in economic output
• $21 million in revenues for local governments in the Hampton Roads area
• $18 million in Virginia state tax revenues
The study focused on the economic impact that Richmond-based Dominion Energy’s planned 2.6-gigawatt commercial Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project could have on Virginia and the Hampton Roads community.
During the 2020 to 2026 construction phase, the report estimates that the project will create 900 jobs in the state and generate $143 million in economic output.
The study adds that “this is a reasonable but conservative estimate of the impact. In time, it may prove to be a significant underestimate, if the project attracts new businesses to Hampton Roads or Virginia in order to participate in the offshore wind energy supply chain. Future updates of this report would reflect these additions to the Hampton Roads and Virginia economies.”
Dominion Energy announced the project in September 2019, describing it as the “largest offshore wind development in the country.” The company stated that construction on the project is slated to begin in 2024 and that, once completed, the facility will generate enough renewable energy to power up to 660,000 homes.
“Offshore wind is an excellent renewable energy source and this filing with PJM shows how serious we are about bringing commercial-scale offshore wind to Virginia, giving our customers what they have asked for – more renewable energy,” said Vice President of Generation Construction at Dominion Energy Mark D. Mitchell. “Governor Ralph Northam has made it clear Virginia is committed to leading the way in offshore wind. We are rising to this challenge with this 2,600-megawatt commercial offshore wind development.”
According to the Mangum Economics report, Dominion Energy’s offshore wind energy development is “proceeding in two phases – an initial 12-megawatt pilot project and a subsequent 2.6-gigawatt large-scale commercial project.” The report explains that the pilot’s main purpose is to help Dominion Energy establish expertise in the operations that will be key to building future large-scale projects such as the 2.6-gigawatt facility.
The 12-megawatt pilot project is just the second offshore wind project built in the U.S. Dominion Energy recently announced that the pilot is now ready to enter commercial service, pending a technical review by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.