Northam announces wind training alliance
Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance to provide workforce training for offshore, onshore wind energy
Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced the formation of the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance, Virginia’s first workforce training collaborative for the offshore and onshore wind energy industries.
The program will offer industry-required certifications for wind project operations and long-term maintenance. The New College Institute in Martinsville will serve as the host institution, working with Centura College and the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy. The Alliance plans to begin offering programs early next year.
“Building a strong wind energy workforce will give the commonwealth a significant competitive advantage in attracting onshore and offshore wind projects,” Northam said in a statement. “There is currently massive potential for offshore wind up and down the East Coast, and we look forward to working with our partners across Virginia and in neighboring states to grow this industry and reap the tremendous economic benefits for our communities, especially those that have been historically disadvantaged.”
The offshore wind industry could generate up to 5,200 jobs in Virginia (with a majority located in Hampton Roads), as well as an estimated $740 million in total economic activity during the next several years, according to an economic impact analysis conducted by Henrico County-based Mangum Economics and released by the Hampton Roads Alliance.
“Virginia is actively working to welcome new and expanding business in the offshore and onshore wind sector,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “These companies require a skilled workforce to reach their highest potential, and fortunately, because of our deep maritime roots, that workforce is here.”
Richmond-based Dominion Energy Inc. announced Wednesday that its two turbine, 12-megawatt, $300 million Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project, located 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coastline, has successfully completed reliability testing. Dominion, the first U.S. electric utility company to install an offshore wind farm, began construction on the $300 million project in June, and the turbines were installed and tested this summer.
“Clean energy jobs in construction and operations will serve as a catalyst for delivering clean, renewable energy to the commonwealth,” Josh Bennett, Dominion Energy vice president of offshore wind, said in a statement. “The formation of the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance is a critical step to developing a talented offshore wind workforce here in Virginia.”
The New College Institute partners with industry and academia to provide workforce development and training programs, and Centura College has seven Eastern Virginia education centers that offer tech training. Located in Norfolk, the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy teaches deck and engineering courses.