The Port of Virginia is leasing 72 acres at its Portsmouth marine terminal for Dominion Energy to use as base for building out its 2.6-gigawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, a precursor to making the state a center for the U.S. wind industry, said Gov. Ralph Northam.

The agreement “to propel development of the largest wind energy project off the United States” will “dramatically accelerate” further developments and “positions Virginia as the hub of the emerging offshore wind industry,” Northam said in announcing the lease at the International Partnering Forum Wednesday morning in Richmond, Va.

Dominion’s CVOW wind pilot project – two 6-megawatt turbines now operating 27 miles off Virginia Beach – was built using a smaller area at the port for its staging area.

Northam said the long-term buildout of Dominion’s future turbines are key to his administration’s goal of 52 GW of offshore wind power by 2050.

“It will be the largest on this side of the Atlantic Ocean,” said Robert Blue, president and CEO of Dominion Energy, with 1,000 construction jobs and up to 1,100 operating and maintenance and related positions.

Blue said offshore wind is part of Dominion’s larger strategy for developing carbon-free energy sources, including solar, small modular reactors and hydrogen.

“We’re pursuing strategies to get as clean as we can, as fast as we can,” without sacrificing reliability, he said.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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