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Jen A. Kiggans and Terry G. Kilgore column: Offshore wind development is a win for all Virginians
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An Air of Progress

Jen A. Kiggans and Terry G. Kilgore column: Offshore wind development is a win for all Virginians

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Dominion Energy wind turbines

By Jen A. Kiggans and Terry G. Kilgore

Stretching 508 miles across southern Virginia, U.S. Route 58 has connected our districts on the eastern and western parts of the commonwealth officially for nearly a century. It’s a critical infrastructure investment that has benefited generations of Virginians on both ends of the state.

Virginia is now investing in another project that will have generational benefits for both of our districts: offshore wind development.

We support this clean energy and job growth investment because we recognize the immense environmental and economic gains it will bring to Virginia for years to come. It’s rare these days to find an issue that brings all Virginians together, regardless of party or geography, but offshore wind certainly does.

Wind energy is growing exponentially. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. offshore wind pipeline grew 24% in 2020. This is due in large part to the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot and commercial projects that are being developed in the commonwealth.

The CVOW project is being built 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach and has established Virginia as the nationwide offshore wind development leader. As the project continues, Virginia will become a new supply chain hub for the East Coast, bringing with it hundreds of clean energy jobs and additional economic benefits. For years, Virginia Republicans and Democrats alike have been positioning the commonwealth as the “Energy Capital of the East Coast.”

In September 2020, the two-turbine CVOW pilot project was completed, bringing 12 megawatts of clean energy onto the grid and powering 3,000 Virginia homes. Dominion Energy is now moving forward on the second, commercial phase of the project, which will power 660,000 Virginia homes with clean, affordable and reliable energy when it’s complete.

According to a study released by the Hampton Roads Alliance and conducted by Magnum Economics, upon completion in 2026, the CVOW project will support more than 1,100 direct and indirect jobs, $82 million in pay and benefits, $210 million in economic output, and $11 million in state and local tax revenue. These benefits will have ripple effects across the commonwealth, from one corner of the state to another.

The CVOW project is well worth the investment, and the State Corporation Commission has overseen and will continue to oversee Dominion Energy to ensure the project remains in the best interest of ratepayers. It also will help us meet Virginia’s emission goal, per the Clean Economy Act, of net-zero by 2050.

We already are beginning to see dividends from its development, with Dominion Energy and the Port of Virginia recently reaching a lease agreement for the staging area to build the wind turbines, creating a job growth hub. Offshore wind technical training programs already are in motion, like those at Centura College, and everyone from business leaders to educators and all those in between have come out in support of the project.

As we respond to and recover from the pandemic, infrastructure, supply chain and job growth investments like CVOW are critical. And although Southwest Virginians are more distant from the project itself, our corner of the state and all others still will reap the benefits this project provides.

We are proud to stand in support of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot and commercial projects, as well as future clean energy projects that support Virginia’s economy and environment. Offshore wind is a win-win for all Virginians, including those living along Route 58 and throughout the state.

Jen A. Kiggans, R-Virginia Beach, represents the 7th District in the Virginia Senate. Contact her at: district07@senate.virginia.gov

Terry G. Kilgore, R-Scott, represents the 1st District in the Virginia House of Delegates. Contact him at: DelTKilgore@house.virginia.gov

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