Thursday, March 27, 2014

Governor McAuliffe Announces Four Virginia Businesses Receive Awards for Research in Offshore Wind Power Development

RICHMOND, Va. - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that four Virginia businesses have been selected for awards totaling $860,000 for research having a total value of more than $3 million that will give the Commonwealth a competitive advantage and accelerate the development of offshore wind power and its associated industry supply chain. 

·       Alstom Power Inc, a global industrial manufacturer with its North American Wind Power business headquartered in the metro Richmond area, offered $10,000 in contributed cost share and was selected for a $40,000 award to develop advanced controls that adjust ocean wind turbines to respond in real time to incoming waves, reducing wear and tear on the rotor and generator.
·       CoastalObsTechServices LLC of Virginia Beach offered $310,000 in cost share contributions and was selected for a $260,000 award to perform a 12-month wave measurement project and wave forecast modeling and validation to help mitigate the risk of construction delays and service vessel inaccessibility.
·       Timmons Group, a Richmond-based engineering and technology firm, offered to contribute $345,000 in cost share and was selected for a $250,000 award to develop a proof of concept for a commercial wide-area metocean and environmental monitoring program.
·       Virginia Electric Power Company, dba Dominion Virginia Power, offered $2 million in cost share contribution and was selected for a $310,000 award to advance geotechnical studies, including deep borings, which are essential to early project engineering analysis and currently lacking on the Outer Continental Shelf in the vicinity of the Virginia Wind Energy Area.

The four proposals were selected for first-round awards under a request for proposals that generated 20 responses for projects requesting a total of $4.83 million in DMME funding and which offered a total of $5.38 million in matching funds. The results from these research and development activities are expected to help lower costs and risks for commercial offshore wind power development.
In September 2013, Dominion Virginia Power won the commercial auction conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to develop wind power on just over 112,000 acres approximately 24 miles off Virginia’s coast. Wind power development in this area has the potential to produce enough electricity to power about 700,000 homes. 

Governor McAuliffe said that the gradual slope of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off of Virginia, with relatively shallow water at offshore distances sufficient to minimize conflicts with commercial shipping and military training, and an excellent wind resource make the area ideal for wind power development. In addition, the Governor stated that Virginia is well positioned along the Atlantic coast to become the central hub to support wind power development planned in other states to the north and south. “Virginia is blessed to have a skilled work force, a heavy manufacturing and ship building base in Hampton Roads, and world-class port facilities that are second to none.”

BOEM characterizes Virginia’s planned wind energy development area on the OCS as a “frontier area.” Much data still needs to be gathered, such as information on sub-sea geology, waves and currents, and marine and avian species, before commercial development can begin.  Governor McAuliffe said “the projects selected for award today will help to fill some of these gaps. This research will build on past efforts and investments and is a key part of a broader strategy to ensure that the Commonwealth continues to be well poised and highly regarded by an industry and supply chain that can bring quality jobs and other benefits to Commonwealth citizens and businesses. Today’s awards are the latest examples of the Commonwealth encouraging and supporting private sector investments in offshore wind development. There is more to come. We’re ready for business.”

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