RD281 - Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority Annual Report - October 15, 2013

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority (“VOWDA” or “the Authority”) was created in 2010 by the Virginia legislature. The Authority oversees data gathering, research and planning to support offshore wind development off of Virginia’s coast, tracks issues as they arise, and makes recommendations for promoting Virginia offshore wind development and associated economic development opportunities for supply chain manufacturers and businesses and Virginia ports. This report constitutes the third annual report of the Authority’s activities and accomplishments.

In 2013, the Authority continued work on the four main goals established by the 2010 legislation, which are summarized as follows:

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 a Proposed Sale Notice and a Final Sale Notice. The Authority supported efforts by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), BOEM, and other stakeholders to resolve potential conflicts with the Department of Defense and the commercial maritime industry in the definition of Virginia’s Wind Energy Area (WEA) and in the relocation of one of two research lease areas requested by DMME. Further, the Authority supported DMME’s partnership with BOEM to collect geophysical data in Virginia’s WEA and DMME’s two requested research leases that will help facilitate the collection of additional metocean and environmental data.

The Authority received presentations throughout the year from various stakeholders and experts and analyzed this and other information to determine the appropriate next steps to facilitate private development of the offshore wind energy resource, to provide reasonably priced energy, and to develop an offshore wind industry and supply chain that will create economic opportunity for businesses and good jobs for Virginians.

As a result of its activities and accomplishments in 2013, the Authority makes the following recommendations to advance offshore wind development and related supply chain activities in Virginia. The first three recommendations are ranked in order or priority.

RECOMMENDATION 1: Leverage state funding with additional private and federal funding to position Virginia with a competitive advantage in attracting the offshore wind industry.

RECOMMENDATION 2: Support successful completion of the advanced technology demonstration project and work with state and federal agencies to ensure advancement of the project in the competition for follow-on funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

RECOMMENDATION 3: Support and expedite the federal process for development of the commercial wind energy area off of the coast of Virginia and ensure compatibility with other ocean uses and avian and marine species and habitat.


• Engage with or continue collaboration with the Virginia Ship Repair Association (VSRA), Virginia Offshore Wind (VOW) Coalition, the maritime industry, and other stakeholders to ensure successful and productive shared use of the ocean and port facilities.

• Support the extension of federal Investment Tax Credits and Production Tax Credits in a form that would assist offshore wind development in Virginia.

• Gather data to demonstrate the economic benefits that would result if the Commonwealth of Virginia is home to a vibrant Mid-Atlantic offshore wind industry and supply chain, and work with the commercial lease holder and others to strategically engage potential supply chain and workforce development opportunities.

• Gather data to quantify the amount of additional cost that ratepayers would support, if any, to facilitate the development of an offshore wind project in Virginia.

• Support legislative and administrative efforts to attract offshore wind economic development to the Commonwealth, in addition to encouraging the development and approval of offshore wind projects in Virginia.