Global wind turbine manufacturing giant Siemens Gamesa plans to spend $200 million to build an offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Virginia. It will initially support a 2.6-GW energy project proposed by power company Dominion Energy, and then will become an intended regional hub as the state develops 5.2 GW in targeted wind capacity off the coast by 2024.
“The U.S. offshore market is a critical part of our overall global strategy, with our presence in Virginia playing a crucial and central role,” said Marc Becker, CEO of the German-Spanish firm's offshore business unit.
The plant will be the first in the U.S. to manufacture offshore wind turbine blades.
The project is proposed for more than 80 acres at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal in Portsmouth, Va., which can be expanded into a regional-size plant, the company said. Siemens entered into a land lease agreement with the Virginia Port Authority.
Siemens' patented offshore turbine blades, called IntegralBlades, will be finished at the plant. Construction will begin once a firm order from Dominion Energy is completed.
Dominion’s plan is for its wind farm offshore of Virginia Beach to be the largest in the U.S., with up to 205 turbines installed about 27 miles off the coast. The plan is under an environmental review by the U.S. Interior Dept.'s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Construction and is expected to begin in 2024 and finish in 2026.
Dominion is also leading a consortium to build a 472-ft offshore wind turbine installation vessel, now under construction at a Brownsville, Texas shipyard. It is set to be the first vessel qualified to travel for commercial reasons among U.S. ports under the federal Jones Act, which bars foreign-flagged ships from doing so.
The $500-million vessel, Charybdis, will be used to build Dominion’s offshore wind project and two projects being developed by Ørsted and Eversource in the Northeast.
The vessel is expected to be sea ready by late 2023. It will be deployed first out of the New London, Conn., harbor for construction of the Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind projects off Long Island, N.Y. that will total 1.6 GW of wind energy.
The Charybdis home port will be in Hampton Roads, Va.