It was touted to become America’s first offshore wind turbine blade factory when the plans were announced in 2021. But no more.
Then-governor Ralph Northam announced in October 2021 that Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) would build the first offshore wind turbine blade facility in the United States on an 80-acre section of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
Now, just over two years after the announcement, a spokesman for the Port of Virginia tells us, “I can confirm that SGRE will not be going forward with the lease it has for space at Portsmouth Marine Terminal.”
The Spanish company was chosen by Dominion Energy as its partner for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast.
At the time, the companies said the project would create 310 new jobs, including about 50 service jobs.
Dominion said the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, which would eventually include 176 turbines, would generate enough clean, sustainable energy to power up to 660,000 homes at peak and avoid as much as 5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
But now, the SGRE will not bring its $200 million blade finishing project to Portsmouth at all.
In a statement, the company offered by way of explanation, “Siemens Gamesa discontinued plans to build and operate an offshore blade manufacturing facility in Virginia, as development milestones to establish the facility could not be met.”
Meanwhile, other projects related to building wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach are moving full steam ahead. You may recall the massive turbine monopiles we reported on two weeks ago that arrived at Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project is one of the large-scale projects that are part of a multi-state alliance established in 2020. Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina teamed up to promote themselves as a hub for offshore wind development.
-Meg Walburn Viviano