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In some of Gov. Ralph Northam’s final days in office, Virginia has signed an agreement with Denmark to boost the offshore wind industry.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed virtually Thursday morning by Secretary of Commerce and Trade (SOCT) Brian Ball and Dan Jørgensen, minister of the Danish Ministry of Climate Energy and Utilities.
Northam’s office on Thursday evening released information about the agreement, which establishes a partnership between Virginia and Denmark to “share knowledge of challenges, successes, and best practices when it comes to developing offshore wind and its supply chain in each location.”
“We have purposely worked to position Virginia as a leader in offshore wind. Off our coast, we have the first turbines in federal waters, and we have two major wind farmers in development. Our Port of Virginia will the launching point for turbine components on the East Coast. We are well positioned to continue growing in this area,” said Northam. “Denmark has the highest proportion of wind power in the world, and we can learn a great deal from their experience. I thank Denmark for its cooperation and look forward to working together to build this new industry, promote clean energy, and create jobs right here in the Commonwealth.”
Together, Virginia and Denmark work to find ways to quickly and efficiently develop an offshore wind industry. They’ll also look at “bigger picture items” such as renewable energy, mitigating climate change, and energy security.
Virginia already installed the first two wind turbines in federal waters in 2020. The area will also be home to two major wind farms, which are in development now. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Windfarm will be the largest offshore wind farm in the U.S., generating 2.6 gigawatts of power when it’s completed in 2026. The Kitty Hawk offshore wind farm will be created by Avangrid Renewables off the coast of North Carolina that will produce 2.5 gigawatts of power.
“Virginia’s ambition and Denmark’s experience make a perfect partnership. I am therefore very pleased that Denmark and Virginia now establishes new cooperation on offshore wind. Virginia has made an ambitious decision to build a 2.6 gigawatt offshore wind farm by 2026. I hope that our long regulatory experiences within offshore wind can contribute to a successful undertaking in Virginia. At the same time, Denmark can be inspired by new and innovative approaches. Together, we stand stronger in the green transition,” said Jørgensen, minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities.
Virginia already has two Danish firms present in the state: Ørsted and Rose Holm Inc.
In January 2020, Northam announced an agreement with Ørsted to lease a portion of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal for offshore wind staging materials and equipment. The lease is expected to run through 2026 as Ørsted installs nearly 3,000 megawatts of wind energy projects in the United States.
“Having built the world’s first offshore wind farm in Denmark and installed America’s first turbines in federal waters, our Ørsted team is proud the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Kingdom of Denmark have partnered to help advance the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “Building a sustainable offshore wind energy industry in the U.S. requires both international experience and local expertise. This partnership formally establishes the dialogue to achieve this and will help ensure a strong clean energy future that creates good-paying jobs.”