Virginia to build offshore wind energy facility

The Commonwealth of Virginia, Northampton County and a consortium of companies announced on Oct. 13 that they are collaborating on the project, called Poseidon Atlantic, that would be the first facility for the testing and certification of large offshore and land-based wind turbines.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said the facility will create 20 to 25 direct jobs in Northampton County over the next two years. The growth of the offshore wind industry and all of its associated jobs over the long-term could result in the creation of 5,000-plus positions in Hampton Roads and along the Virginia shore.

Poseidon Atlantic LLC is a joint-venture between U.S.-based Real NewEnergy and Ecofys, a subsidiary of the Dutch utility, Eneco. Real NewEnergy is a renewable energy technology firm formed to introduce and leverage Dutch renewable energy experience and capabilities in the U.S. Ecofys is the leading sustainable energy consulting firm in The Netherlands and currently operates the largest wind turbine test and certification facility in Europe.

Poseidon Atlantic signed a contract with the Norfolk office of Dutch-based Fugro to provide engineering services associated with site location and development of the proposed test center. The development of the commercial wind turbine test center in coastal Virginia would capitalize on the unique maritime advantages provided by The Port of Virginia. Hampton Roads is well-positioned to provide marine construction, fabrication and supply-chain support to the offshore wind industry.

The initial phase of the project is to be developed on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in Northampton County, where a recently adopted wind farm and wind test center ordinance allows wind turbines up to 750 ft tall.