RD266 - Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority Annual Report - October 15, 2012

Executive Summary:
In 2010, the General Assembly established the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority (“VOWDA” or “the Authority”). The members were appointed and the Authority began meeting in December 2010. Legislation introduced and approved April 4, 2012 [Chapter 502], amended the membership from eleven to nine non-legislative citizen members appointed by the Governor and made it so members will serve staggered terms. In addition, one ex-officio member, without voting privileges, will be selected by the Governor after consideration of the persons nominated by the Secretary of the Navy.

In 2012, the Authority continued work on its four main goals and updated its annual work plan to accomplish those goals and objectives.

1. Virginia Offshore Industry Data: Facilitate the definition, collection, and dissemination of relevant metocean data, environmental data, and other information needed by Virginia offshore wind stakeholders, using existing, planned, or projected sources of data collection or activities.

2. Offshore Leasing, Permitting, Financing, and Regulation: Identify existing federal and state barriers to the development of the offshore wind industry in Virginia.

3. Virginia Offshore Job Creation and Supply Chain Development: Work in cooperation with relevant local, state, and federal agencies to accommodate the manufacturing, assembly, and maintenance of offshore wind energy project components and vessels.

4. Offshore Wind Project Siting and Development: Communicate and coordinate with stakeholders, including the Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (DOI BOEMRE, subsequently renamed BOEM) Task Force to ensure the development of offshore wind projects is compatible with other ocean uses and avian and marine resources, including both the possible interference with and positive effects on naval facilities and operations, NASA-Wallops Flight Facility operations, shipping lanes, recreational and commercial fisheries, and avian and marine species and habitats.

To accomplish its goals, the Authority worked with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to help facilitate the issuance of the Call for Information and Nominations for Commercial Leasing in the Wind Energy Area off the coast of Virginia and the draft of the Proposed Sale Notice. The Authority supported efforts by Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC) and BOEM to resolve potential conflicts with the Department of Defense and the commercial maritime industry in the definition of Virginia’s Wind Energy Area (WEA). Further, the Authority supported DMME’s partnership with BOEM to collect geophysical data in Virginia’s WEA and DMME’s application for two research leases that will help facilitate the collection of additional met-ocean and environmental data.

VOWDA monitored federal and state activity related to the development of offshore wind and commented on activities related to proposed auction formats, and the request for competitive interest and right-of-way application for a major transmission line designed to provide transmission onshore up and down the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Coast. The Authority also stayed abreast of the activities being conducted by VCERC and provided input into the development of a website that is designed for sharing geospatial data. The website provides the opportunity to take a closer look at actual wind behaviors and estimate actual energy production, with easy access links to real time hourly data for wind shear, air temperatures, air density, etc. The website also hosts an enhanced VOWDA webpage where all studies, resources, minutes from meetings, etc. can be easily accessed by the public.

Finally, the Authority received presentations throughout the year regarding updates to the 2010 Meteorological Tower Placement Report, progress on upgrading the Chesapeake Light Tower and its importance in Virginia WEA Resource Assessment, transmission solutions studies, private development of a facility to test and certify offshore and land-based turbine generators in the United States and other private interest in developing offshore wind off the coast of Virginia and the associated challenges. The Authority has analyzed this information to determine the appropriate next steps for Virginia in continuing to facilitate private development of offshore wind energy, provide reasonably priced energy, and develop an offshore wind industry, supply chain, and job creation for Virginians.

As a result of its activities this year, the Authority makes the following priority recommendations:

RECOMMENDATION 1: Support industry request to provide state funding to match private and other investments in the design, permitting, and installation of buoys, structures, and equipment that will facilitate the collection of met-ocean data / or pre-construction development costs and construction of met towers.

RECOMMENDATION 2: Establish a low-interest revolving loan fund to provide funding for private investment in the collection of additional met-ocean and environmental data to support lowering the cost of development of an offshore wind project in Virginia’s Wind Energy Area.

RECOMMENDATION 3: That any agreement for port privatization preserve no- or low-cost access to port land and facilities to maintain Virginia's competitive advantage to attract and develop an offshore wind energy industry and supply chain.


1. Support the extension of the federal Investment Tax Credits and Production Tax Credits.

2. Continue to support BOEM in its efforts to release the proposed sale notice off the coast of Virginia and conduct an auction of the lease blocks in Virginia’s WEA as expeditiously as possible.

3. Support efforts for successful completion of an advanced technology demonstration project. Work with federal and state agencies to ensure efficient permitting of demonstration projects.