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Offshore wind turbine blades to be manufactured in Portsmouth, creating hundreds of jobs

Gov. Ralph Northam was joined by energy officials in Portsmouth on Monday to make a special announcement regarding offshore wind.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Portsmouth will become the home to the United States' first offshore wind turbine blade facility, creating hundreds of new jobs for the region.

Governor Ralph Northam made the announcement Monday morning, saying Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will lease more than 80 acres of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal and will build a facility to produce turbine blades supplying offshore wind projects in North America.

Dominion Energy had previously selected Siemens Gamesa as its partner for the creation of offshore wind turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

“Today’s announcement will help position Hampton Roads as the offshore wind development hub in the nation, a role it is ideally suited for thanks to the advantages to the Port of Virginia,” said Bob Blue, the President and CEO of Dominion Energy.

Northam said the new facility will create 310 new jobs, of which roughly 50 will be service jobs to support the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project.

The project will reportedly cost about $200 million, including over $80 million in investments for buildings and equipment at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.

“We always believe that a local supply chain is key to ensure an offshore wind industry in the U.S.,” said Steve Dayney, the head of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

"This is good news for energy customers, the union workers who will bring this project to life, and our business partners," Northam said. "Make no mistake: Virginia is building a new industry in renewable energy, with more new jobs to follow, and that’s good news for our country."

Also attending Monday's announcement was U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. 

"Offshore wind energy will create jobs and economic prosperity across the country, and with President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, we’re showing that the United States is open for business on clean energy," she said.

Once completed in 2026, officials said turbines used for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project will allow for the production of more than 2,600 megawatts of clean energy, which is enough to power up to 660,000 homes. Dominion said it will also avoid as much as five million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

"By adding wind capacity, we’re going to diversify our energy supply, de-carbonize our existing fossil fuels base," Granholm said. "We will keep American prices affordable.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner noted this announcement was a major milestone for Virginia's first offshore wind project, which he said was the second active offshore wind project in the country.

"I am proud that Virginia is leading the way in offshore wind development and reinforcing its role as a major player in an industry that will power our future," Warner said.