State making moves to attract wind farm off coast; City Councilman John Moss has an open mind on it, as long as it's fully privately funded

May 25, 2018

The state has posted a Request For Proposals by June 22, seeking contractors' plans to develop and deploy strategies to help Virginia attract an offshore wind supply chain and service industry.


“Hampton Roads’ unmatched port infrastructure and high-quality maritime workforce make the region an ideal location for offshore wind energy development,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Virginia should be the prime location for the offshore wind industry, from the supply chain to the full build-out of our offshore wind assets off the coast.”


Virginia Beach City Councilman John Moss said there aren’t many details available about the plan, so it’s too early to look too far into the future.


But, he said, the city should lend an attentive ear to the matter.


“I have no objection, as long as it is all private money, private risks, the risk is not transferred to rate payers and the Department of Defense concurs (with the plan),” said Moss, who is running for mayor.  “The devil is always in the details; fundamentals of economics have to be obeyed. The city should let the Commonwealth’s process execute and when there is something definitive to examine, then the city should make an assessment and act accordingly.


"If the Commonwealth identifies upfront issues they would like cities to take under consideration upfront, of course, then we should," Moss continued. "At this time, with so little information, no there is no action I am going to take besides to get more educated on the details of the initiative.”


Two other City Council members, Bob Dyer and Ben Davenport, respectively, are also running for mayor.


The Sun has contacted the governor's office for more information.


The Sun also reported in October 2014 about Dominion Virginia Power's efforts to see if offshore wind turbines can tolerate hurricane-force winds.


"Final engineering analysis (will take place) off the area between Rudee Inlet and Dam Neck Road," Clay Berwick, the city's environment and sustainability administrator, said at the time. 


Virginia already boasts clear advantages, as compared to other coastal states, and Virginia’s port assets are well-positioned to serve as a supply chain and service hub, said Ofirah Yheskel, a spokesman for the governor.


"No other major East Coast port shares Virginia’s capability of unlimited air clearance," Yheskel said. "The Hampton Roads region also enjoys open shipping channels and navigational flexibility that make maritime congestion a low-level concern."


The request focuses on expertise in port infrastructure requirements, build-out of the various offshore wind supply chain sectors and long-term maritime service needs.


“This is the start of a 50-year industry that will stretch up and down the East Coast; from a logistics standpoint, locating the offshore wind supply-chain in Virginia just makes sense,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball.


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