Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has announced an agreement for wind farm operator Ørsted to lease a portion of Norfolk's Portsmouth Marine Terminal for offshore wind staging materials and equipment.

Ørsted could use the site for its work on the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project with Dominion Energy, as well as for staging materials and equipment for Ørsted projects up and down the East Coast. If it is finalized, the lease will run through at least 2026; over this period, Ørsted plans to install nearly 3,000 megawatts of wind energy projects in the United States.

“This is a big step towards making Virginia a leader in wind energy and offshore wind manufacturing,” said Northam. “With The Port of Virginia at its helm, the Hampton Roads region has the trained workforce and the nautical know-how to become a vital hub for offshore wind development.”

The agreement between the port and Ørsted is for an initial lease of 1.7 acres at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal through 2026, with options to expand to 40 acres. If fully executed, the agreement could be worth nearly $13 million in lease payments and $20 million more in investment for cranes and other improvements. Those investments would prepare the site for preassembly, staging and loading of wind turbines for Ørsted's projects. 

"This is a strategic decision by leaders in the offshore wind industry to take advantage of Virginia’s world-class port,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “By welcoming Ørsted and allowing it to leverage the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, we could jumpstart an almost entirely new industry. The result is job creation, economic investment, diversification of the Virginia economy, and clean, renewable energy.”