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First U.S. Offshore Wind Blade Facility Will be Built in Virginia

first blade facility in the U.S. to be in Virginia
Siemens Gamesa's blade factory in Hull in the U.K. (Siemens Gamesa)

Published Oct 25, 2021 7:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

Siemens Gamesa has announced plans to establish the first offshore wind turbine blade facility in the United States at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal in Virginia. It is the latest step to develop the U.S. offshore wind power generation sector and another step toward redeveloping the Virginia terminal into becoming a hub for the offshore wind industry.

Siemens Gamesa has signed a long-term lease with the Virginia Port Authority for more than 80 acres to develop the blade facility. It is intended to support deliveries to the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Commercial project. Dominion Energy is in the process of developing the proposal for the wind farm, which would be located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The project, however, remains in the development stage, with permitting still in process, and is still pending a final investment decision by Dominion Energy. Plans call for the wind farm to generate 2.6 GW when it is completed in 2026.

The agreement with Siemens Gamesa is being called the first commitment by a global offshore wind turbine manufacturer for a U.S.-based supply chain. Contingent on a firm order from Dominion, Siemens said it plans to invest a total of approximately $200 million including over $80 million for buildings and equipment at the Portsmouth site. The new facility would perform finishing of Siemens blades.

“This announcement is a major milestone in the development of Virginia’s first offshore wind project – and the second active offshore wind project in the country,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner. “I am proud that Virginia is leading the way in offshore wind development and reinforcing its role as a major player in an industry that will power our future. I commend Governor Northam for his leadership on this issue and Siemens Gamesa and the Port of Virginia for bringing this project to the Commonwealth and creating 21st-century jobs.”

The Siemens Gamesa blade facility represents another step to develop the Portsmouth Marine Terminal into an offshore wind hub. Earlier this year, Dominion Energy agreed to lease 72 acres of the deep-water Portsmouth Marine Terminal as a staging and pre-assembly area for the foundations and turbines. Siemens Gamesa also said that it will look to potentially expand the facility if awarded future projects in the region. 

“The Port of Virginia is proud to be able to help with the development of an entirely new industry that will spur job growth, drive our economy and create the US East Coast’s offshore-wind logistics hub right here in Portsmouth,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “The industry is going to be closely watching Virginia, and this port, and we welcome the interest. We have a very unique opportunity to set ourselves apart by being at the forefront of this movement to create clean, renewable energy along the East Coast. We welcome Siemens Gamesa and are looking forward to a long and productive relationship.”