Within five to 10 years, wind turbine projects off the coast of Virginia could produce electricity at competitive costs and create thousands of jobs, according to a comprehensive feasibility study just released by the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC).
The 67-page report, which reflects 30 months of fact-finding and analysis by researchers affiliated with Virginia universities and industries, has identified sufficient potential for offshore winds to provide 10% of Virginia’s annual electricity demand in high-wind zones 12 miles or more off the coast – beyond the visual horizon – on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). (Click here to view full report.)
Writes Kathy Banks with the AP, “With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the notion of building anything off any U.S. shoreline may raise eyebrows and concerns. But a plan to build a wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach is earning a positive nod”.
And what’s not to like about Virginia offshore wind?!
Using existing coastal facilities, the manufacture of huge components needed to capture winds off the Virginia coast would create thousands of jobs, the study found.
“The shipbuilding and port facilities in Hampton Roads are well positioned to manufacture, stage and install foundations, towers and turbines anywhere on the Mid-Atlantic continental shelf,” wrote George Hagerman, who led the research (as reported by the AP).
More from the AP:
A report by the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium said the 600-megawatt turbines could supply 10 percent of the commonwealth’s electricity.
The report also concluded that the massive blades would not affect Navy or NASA operations in the Atlantic region.
It’s one of several wind projects now in the works in Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas, North Carolina and Ohio, according to Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.
Just last Wednesday, the federal government approved an offshore wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, after a nine-year review.
A similar farm could be operating in Virginia by 2016, researchers said.
At least three companies have expressed interest in developing Virginia wind farms.