The Hampton Roads Alliance is launching a new initiative to develop a supply chain to serve the east coast offshore wind industry in the Hampton Roads, Virginia region. This effort is supported by a Department of Housing & Community Development GO Virginia grant of $529,788 that will help fund its first two years of operations.
This initiative will position Hampton Roads as a destination for offshore wind companies to invest, while also creating new economic prospects for existing businesses, attracting new investments to the region and sparking new permanent job creation.
“The Alliance is proud to be a key partner in the collective effort to bring offshore wind to the Hampton Roads region. We would like to sincerely thank Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia General Assembly for leading the charge to bring renewable energy to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and GO Virginia for awarding the Alliance a grant which will be used to kick off our supply chain development initiative,” said Doug Smith, president & CEO of the Hampton Roads Alliance.
The initiative plans to both recruit offshore wind companies to establish operations in the region and identify opportunities for existing Virginia businesses to become part of the supply chain. This will involve coordination and collaboration with local, regional and state partners, including the Virginia Division of Offshore Wind within the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP).
In support of this new initiative, the Alliance hired Matt Smith as the director of offshore wind business development. Before joining the Alliance, Matt served as the Senior Regional Planner at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) and worked in the areas of strategic, environmental and comprehensive planning. Matt led efforts at the HRPDC on issues ranging from offshore wind to site development readiness. Matt came to the HRPDC from Hampton’s Community Development Department where he helped start Hampton’s resilience planning program.
“We are very excited to have Matt Smith join our team as our first Director for Offshore Wind Business Development,” said Brian K. Skinner, chief banking officer for TowneBank and chair of Alliance Board of Directors. “Matt comes to the Alliance with a history of serving the 757 region, and we look forward to the experience and passion he will bring with him to this inaugural role.”
“Virginia is positioned to be a leader in the offshore wind energy industry, and we are excited to partner with the Hampton Roads Alliance, DHCD and DMME on these initiatives to expand Virginia’s offshore wind supply chain,” said Stephen Moret, VEDP president and CEO. “It is through collaboration among state, local and regional organizations that we can recruit new business, growing this industry and creating economic opportunity in the Hampton Roads region and throughout the Commonwealth.”
To further this new initiative, the Alliance is also establishing a European-based offshore wind economic development office. Located in Frankfurt, Germany, the Hampton Roads Alliance Offshore Wind Office will be staffed by experts who will engage with European-based companies and promote the assets of the region.
“We as the European arm of the Hampton Roads Alliance are thrilled to represent this initiative. As one of the first pioneers to help European offshore wind companies navigate through the U.S. and Hampton Roads, the Alliance will start by opening an office in Frankfurt,” said Andreas Paulicks, director Europe, Hampton Roads Alliance Offshore Wind Office. “This decision is based on the fact that Europe and especially Germany are among the leading nations within the renewable energy industry and in particular offshore wind. The strong presence of renewable energy in Europe will bring great opportunities to support investments from Europe to Hampton Roads.”
Hampton Roads is home to an established maritime workforce, with port infrastructure and abundant waterfront land. Dominion Energy also recently completed the installation of the first two turbines in Federal waters as part of its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.
“Offshore Wind represents a once in a generation opportunity to bring an entirely new industry to the region,” said Jim Spore, ReInvent Hampton Roads CEO & president.
News item from the Hampton Roads Alliance