Richmond to host North American offshore wind conference
The Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum (IPF) — North America’s largest offshore wind conference — will be held in Richmond Aug. 24-26.
The forum will connect global industry leaders to businesses in Virginia and beyond that support the construction and operation of offshore wind farms.
With the offshore wind industry placing greater focus on the Southeastern United States, Virginia is a strategic location for IPF, says Matt Smith, director of offshore wind business development for the Hampton Roads Alliance, the regional economic development organization.
“Heavy focus has been on the Northeast, which has a greater density of [offshore] wind projects,” Smith says, but “there is a shift of focus down toward the mid-Atlantic. We have world-class port facilities and waterfront facilities that can serve the industry. [Virginia’s] maritime workforce is larger than many other states combined.”
Virginia will soon be home to the nation’s largest offshore wind project by capacity — the $7.8 billion Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind farm being developed by Dominion Energy. CVOW is scheduled to come online in 2026 and could power more than 660,000 homes.
Off the coast of North Carolina, Kitty Hawk Offshore, a wind project aiming to reach similar scale, is in the permitting process. Construction by Avangrid Renewables could begin as early as 2024.
Dominion, Avangrid, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy are sponsoring this year’s IPF.
Smith hopes the forum will give global offshore wind companies insight into the potential for building an offshore wind supply chain in Virginia. The state has strong maritime capabilities and other supporting industries, but Europe is decades ahead in supplying parts and components. This could change as more projects come online in the U.S., Smith adds.
While plans for an offshore wind supply chain are nascent, the industry is still expected to bring significant revenue to Virginia businesses. Starting in 2027, Dominion expects CVOW’s annual operation to generate $210 million in economic impact annually, which will mainly come from international renewable energy companies engaging with U.S. companies, says John Larson, director of public policy and economic development for Dominion.
“There will certainly be opportunities for Virginia businesses to provide goods and services to those tier one suppliers,” Larson says. “It is a great time for Virginia businesses to come to [IPF] to meet these leaders in the industry.”