First Such Facility in U.S. Will Help With Growing Need for Test and Certification Facilities Worldwide
Project Continues Establishing Virginia as Global Leader in Wind Energy Development
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell announced on Oct. 13, 2011 that Virginia has landed a collaborative project to establish a facility for the testing and certification of large offshore and land-based electricity-producing wind turbines. The project, called Poseidon Atlantic, will be the first such facility in the United States and will help fill a growing need globally for facilities that test and certify wind turbines. The initial phase of the project is to be developed on Virginia's Eastern Shore in Northampton County.
The Poseidon Atlantic project is a private-sector initiative developed by the companies Real NewEnergy, Fugro and Ecofys, with the support of the Commonwealth, the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and the Netherlands government. The proposed facility is intended for full-service testing and certification of existing-and-next generation land-based and offshore wind turbine generators. The project will create 25 direct new jobs within two years. The growth of the offshore wind sector and all of its associated jobs over the long-term could result in major and sustained new job and new industry creation potential over an extended number of years in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling announced the project at a dinner for potential stakeholders on October 12.
Speaking about the announcement, Governor McDonnell said, "The Poseidon Atlantic project will be the first facility of its kind in the United States. It will also be transformational for the future development of offshore wind technology, as there is currently a worldwide lack of facilities that are suitable for full-service certification testing of offshore wind turbine technology. October is Energy Month in Virginia, and this project demonstrates the tremendous progress that we are seeing in our effort to make the Commonwealth the "Energy Capital of the East Coast." The building of this wind energy test facility in Northampton County will further Virginia's growing leadership role in the global wind energy industry, while creating good paying jobs for our citizens at the same time."
"The Poseidon Atlantic project has huge potential for Virginia. If this industry takes root and matures, we could create thousands of new jobs in manufacturing, construction, logistics, operations and maintenance activities," Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling said. "Many of these jobs are skilled positions with very competitive wages and benefits, and they would produce a sustained and long term economic benefit for Virginia."
Poseidon Atlantic LLC is a joint-venture between U.S.-based Real NewEnergy and Ecofys, a subsidiary of the Dutch utility, Eneco. Real NewEnergy is a renewable energy technology firm formed to introduce and leverage Dutch renewable energy experience and capabilities in the U.S. Ecofys is the leading sustainable energy consulting firm in the Netherlands and currently operates the largest wind turbine test-and-certification facility in Europe.
The Norfolk office of Dutch-based Fugro will provide engineering services associated with site location and development of the proposed test center. Founded in 1962, Fugro is the world's leading collector, processor, and interpreter of data related to the earth's surface, subsurface and waters, and provides advice based on the results to clients in many business sectors. In this capacity, Fugro has been a key partner in the development of more than 100 installed and proposed European offshore wind projects, and has been a key supporter for the development of an offshore wind industry in the U.S.
"The Poseidon Atlantic project perfectly illustrates the shared commitment between the Netherlands and Virginia to harness the power of wind energy. The potential long-term job creation from this initiative will build on the nearly 19,000 Virginia jobs already supported by our economic ties with Virginia," said Dutch Ambassador Renée Jones-Bos.
The development of the commercial wind turbine test center in coastal Virginia would capitalize on the unique maritime advantages provided by The Port of Virginia. Hampton Roads is well-positioned to provide marine construction, fabrication and supply-chain support to the offshore wind industry.
"No other harbor along the East Coast provides the breadth of capabilities and assets that will be required as the U.S.'s energy portfolio diversifies to include offshore wind," said Jeff Keever, the VPA's senior deputy executive director. "We are excited that Real NewEnergy and Ecofys have chosen our area to be the location of the first U.S. test and certification center for offshore wind turbine generators."
"Northampton County is extremely excited with the prospect of being the home to the Poseidon Atlantic turbine test facility," said Willie Randall, chairman of the county's Board of Supervisors. "We look forward to doing our part to help the Commonwealth and the nation explore alternative energy sources. Evidence of our support for this project can be seen in the wind ordinance that was passed by the Board of Supervisors as proof of our commitment to economic growth and innovation."