The Hampton Roads Alliance has created a new initiative to develop a comprehensive supply chain to serve the East Coast offshore wind industry.
The alliance’s effort is made possible largely thanks to a Department of Housing & Community Development GO Virginia grant of $529,788 that will help fund the first two years of the initiative. The initiative will position Hampton Roads as a destination for offshore wind companies to invest, while also creating new economic prospects for existing businesses, attracting new investments to the region and sparking new permanent job creation.
“The alliance is proud to be a key partner in the collective effort to bring offshore wind to the Hampton Roads region,” says Doug Smith, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Alliance.
“We would like to sincerely thank Governor Ralph Northam and the Virginia General Assembly for leading the charge to bring renewable energy to the commonwealth of Virginia, and GO Virginia for awarding the alliance a grant which will be used to kick off our supply chain development initiative,” he adds.
The initiative will entail efforts to both recruit offshore wind companies to establish operations in the region, while simultaneously identifying opportunities for existing Virginia businesses to become part of the supply chain. This effort will involve significant coordination and collaboration with local, regional and state partners, including the Virginia Division of Offshore Wind within the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP).
In support of this new initiative, the alliance is pleased to announce the hiring of Matt Smith as the director of offshore wind business development. A hiring committee comprised of representatives from the Hampton Roads Alliance, Virginia DMME, Port of Virginia, Virginia Maritime Association and Portsmouth Economic Development conducted the search and selection of this new hire from a wide pool of candidates. The committee unanimously recommended Smith for the role and is excited to welcome him to the alliance team.
Before joining the alliance, Smith served as the senior regional planner at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) and worked in the areas of strategic, environmental and comprehensive planning. Smith led efforts at the HRPDC on issues ranging from offshore wind to site development readiness. Smith came to the HRPDC from the City of Hampton’s Community Development Department where he helped begin Hampton’s resilience planning program.
Hampton Roads is uniquely positioned to support the growing $100 billion East Coast offshore wind industry. The region touts its port infrastructure, the U.S.’ largest maritime workforce, no overhead bridge restrictions between key port facilities and the open ocean, and abundant waterfront land. Dominion Energy also recently completed the installation of the first two turbines as part of its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.