Virginia could make almost $5B from this 3.5 GW offshore wind farm

Avangrid’s 3.5 gigawatt (GW) Kitty Hawk Wind could deliver around $5 billion in economic impact across Virginia – here’s where the project stands.

The 180-turbine Kitty Hawk Wind is an offshore wind project proposed in federal waters over 36 miles from Virginia Beach. It will be capable of generating enough renewable power for more than 1 million homes and businesses annually and reduce emissions by more than 1.5 million metric tons – equivalent to taking 500,000 cars off the road annually. 

Kitty Hawk Wind would deliver about $4.8 billion in economic impact across Virginia, including $1.2 billion and 2,401 jobs in the City of Virginia Beach over 40 years, according to Avangrid’s just-released “Kitty Hawk Wind: Economic & Fiscal Impact” report.

Kitty Hawk Wind’s development, construction, and operations would deliver approximately $4 billion in investment to the Hampton Roads region, which is equipped to provide critical offshore wind services due to its existing port infrastructure and maritime workforce. (Hampton Roads is the Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News, VA–NC metropolitan region.)

Avangrid estimates that Kitty Hawk would create more than 12,000 jobs in Virginia, 9,500 of which would be located within Hampton Roads. 

Kitty Hawk Wind’s power grid interconnection would bring in $275 million in cumulative property tax revenue for its host, the City of Virginia Beach. It would average about $7 million annually over 40 years through Kitty Hawk’s development, construction, and operation. That money could be used to support critical municipal services and invest in capital projects in the community.

At the end of 2023, local media reported that Virginia Beach leaders opposed Avangrid’s cable site landing location at Sandbridge Beach for the usual reasons – property value impact, tourism, etc. Avangrid can either try to change city leaders’ minds, as it hasn’t been officially voted down, or find an alternate interconnection location.

“Energy supply in the region is critical to maintaining and growing the economy,” said Hampton Roads Chamber CEO and president Bryan Stephens. “The Kitty Hawk Wind Project has the potential to supply our growing energy needs, provide new tax revenue to the City of Virginia Beach, and help the state meet the clean energy goals of 100% renewable electricity supply by 2045.”

And Virginia Maritime Association executive director David White said that the “opportunity presented by the Kitty Hawk Wind project for our industry and the community must not be allowed to slip away.” 

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) awarded Kitty Hawk Wind the 122,405-acre lease in 2017 to develop an offshore wind project off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia. However, Avangrid doesn’t have a customer yet for Kitty Hawk’s power and hasn’t started the full application process with BOEM. 

Read more: Florida has no wind turbines but it’s going to ban them anyway

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