Governor Bob McDonnell welcomed the 2012 American Wind Energy Association Offshore Windpower Conference and Exhibition. The AWEA Conference brings together exhibitors and attendees from all over the world who are interested in becoming players in this new and highly promising market. The event is being held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center Oct. 9-11.
"Virginia continues to demonstrate that it is the Energy Capital of the East Coast, with our bountiful coalfields, strong nuclear industry, favorable regulator environment and our potential to lead the nation in offshore wind energy development," Governor McDonnell said. "Manufacturers, suppliers, developers, operators, policy makers, utility representatives and thought leaders of the wind industry from around the world will assembly in Virginia Beach this week to discuss how the offshore market can expand through development opportunities along the coastal regions of the United States. Virginia leads the way in these potential sites with our ample offshore winds, shallow offshore waters, and ready supply of the shipping, manufacturing and high tech industries and workforce in Hampton Roads. The Commonwealth will continue to be a leader in the development of this promising source of renewable energy."
Virginia's offshore winds continue to be a focus of the developing offshore wind industry. In February 2012, the Bureau of Ocean energy Management (BOEM) released the long-awaited call for nominations and information for the Virginia lease blocks. In March 2012, BOEM received eight comments on the call. BOEM will soon announce details of the competitive auction process.
Governor McDonnell's FY13 Executive Budget included $500,000 for research and data collection to assist and accelerate private development of Virginia's offshore wind resource, which have been allocated to three activities:
$300,000 - The Department of Mines Minerals and Energy (DMME) issued a request for proposals that closes Oct. 17, 2012 for a geological survey of the Virginia Wind Energy Area on the Outer Continental Shelf. The survey will inform activities proposed in two DMME offshore wind energy research lease applications. BOEM awarded a matching $300,000 to DMME for the ocean survey.
$100,000 - DMME agreed to match a federal competitive grant, if there is an award to a Virginia proposal, to demonstrate advanced technology associated with offshore wind energy generation.
$100,000 - To the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute for technical support related to the two DMME research leases, the ocean survey and other research and development activities.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who is speaking at the event, added, "Last week, Governor McDonnell and the Virginia Chamber hosted the 3rd Annual Governor's Conference on Energy. At that conference energy innovators, researchers and educators met with veteran business leaders, entrepreneurs and policy makers, to discuss implementing an 'all of the above' strategy for meeting the future with abundant, reliable and affordable domestic energy. This week, we're hosting the AWEA Offshore Wind Conference where developers, supply chain companies, researchers and policy makers will discuss launching a strategic offshore wind industry in the United States. Clearly Virginia is emerging as a leader for this burgeoning industry to help meet the demands of our citizens for safe, reliable, affordable energy to power our future."