Virginia Lands Nation’s First Offshore Wind Turbine Test Facility

Virginia was selected as the site for the first comprehensive testing and certification facility for both offshore and land-based wind turbines. The project, named Poseidon Atlantic, is a joint venture between Real NewEnergy, a U.S. based renewable energy company, and Ecofys, a subsidiary of the leading Dutch energy consulting firm Eneco.  Another Netherlands-based company, Fugro, will provide engineering services, as the world’s leading collector, processor and interpreter of data related to the earth’s surface. 

The facility will be located in Northampton County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. What makes this project unique is its ability to both test and certify the entire wind turbine (as opposed to testing component parts). Poseidon Atlantic will be the only U.S. site able to perform comprehensive testing for both offshore and land-based turbines.

The Poseidon Atlantic team selected Virginia for this project due to its prime location, as the Commonwealth couldn’t be more well-positioned for the offshore wind industry. Virginia has the ideal combination of strong Class 6 winds along the coast and shallow waters that allow for the easy installation of turbines. The Commonwealth also has the necessary infrastructure already in place, including an experienced maritime workforce, access to a fully operational high-voltage transmission grid close to shore, and a robust transportation network including the Port of Virginia, which has the deepest obstruction-free channels on the East Coast.

Given the current worldwide shortage of full-service testing centers, this project positions Virginia at the forefront of the industry. Certification is a critical final step in the R&D process, as wind turbine manufacturers often seek IEC certification prior to bringing a product to market. The facility is expected to build up to 10 testing pads, leasing these to wind turbine manufacturers and bringing the global offshore wind supply chain to Virginia’s shores.

In addition to Poseidon Atlantic, Virginia has attracted private-sector interest from wind industry leaders over this past year. In February, Gamesa Technology Corp. and Newport News Shipbuilding jointly launched the Offshore Wind Technology Center to develop next-generation offshore wind systems located in Chesapeake. The two companies were already collaborating to launch Gamesa’s first offshore prototype, the G11X-5.0 MW. In early October Apex Offshore Wind, LLC and Maersk Line, Limited joined forces and announced their partnership to develop utility-scale offshore wind energy projects.

Though still in its infancy, the wind industry could create thousands of jobs for Virginians and provide a renewable source of energy. With the global supply chain recognizing Virginia’s unique assets and setting up shop along the coast, the Commonwealth is poised to become a hub for the offshore wind industry and one step closer to claiming the title, "Energy Capital of the East Coast." To read more about Poseidon Atlantic click here.

U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 Best Colleges List Recognizes Virginia

Several Virginia colleges and universities have received national recognition for being among the best higher education institutions in the nation. In the prestigious U.S. News and World Report Top Public National Universities list, the University of Virginia ranked second and The College of William and Mary ranked sixth. The University of Virginia’s undergraduate business program was recognized with a fifth place ranking and its renowned law school placed ninth this year. The College of William and Mary had the eighth ranked undergraduate teaching program in the country.

Washington and Lee University ranked twelfth among the nation’s best liberal arts colleges. Virginia Commonwealth University had the number one Nursing-Anesthesia program and the number four Fine Arts program. Virginia Tech's College of Engineering was rated fifteenth in the country. The University of Richmond was ranked twenty-seventh in the national liberal arts college category. It was also listed as the third up-and-coming liberal arts school and ninth for best value in the liberal arts school category. Virginia Military Institute was ranked fourth in the public liberal arts college category. George Mason University also received a nod as the number two up-and-coming school in the country.

At the regional level, Virginia educational institutions also showed strongly. In the category of Top Public Regional Universities in the South, James Madison University was ranked number two, the University of Mary Washington was ranked number six and Christopher Newport University was ranked number nine.    

Success at the collegiate level is grounded in a strong system of elementary and secondary education.  U.S. News and World Report also released its Best Public High School list, and one of Virginia’s high schools received the number one spot in the Gold Medal category. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., was selected from more than 21,000 public high schools across the nation as the number one public high school based on proficiency standards and the degree to which it prepared students for college level work. Click here to learn more about Virginia’s excellent education system and workforce training programs serving a variety of industries.

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