Gov. McDonnell announces wind turbine test facility in Northampton Co.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor Bob McDonnell announced Thursday that Virginia has landed a collaborative project to establish a facility for the testing and certification of large offshore and land-based electricity-producing wind turbines. The project, called Poseidon Atlantic, will be the first such facility in the United States and will help fill a growing need globally for facilities that test and certify wind turbines. The initial phase of the project is to be developed on Virginia's Eastern Shore in Northampton County.

The Poseidon Atlantic project is a private-sector initiative developed by the companies Real NewEnergy, Fugro and Ecofys, with the support of the Commonwealth, the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and the Netherlands government. The proposed facility is intended for full-service testing and certification of existing-and-next generation land-based and offshore wind turbine generators. The project will create 25 direct new jobs within two years. The growth of the offshore wind sector and all of its associated jobs over the long-term could result in major and sustained new job and new industry creation potential over an extended number of years in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.

"The Poseidon Atlantic project will be transformational for the future development of offshore wind technology, as there is currently a worldwide lack of facilities that are suitable for full-service certification testing of offshore wind turbine technology," said McDonnell. "The building of this wind energy test facility in Northampton County will further Virginia's growing leadership role in the global wind energy industry, while creating good paying jobs for our citizens at the same time."

"The Poseidon Atlantic project has huge potential for Virginia.  If this industry takes root and matures, we could create thousands of new jobs in manufacturing, construction, logistics, operations and maintenance activities," Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling said. "Many of these jobs are skilled positions with very competitive wages and benefits, and they would produce a sustained and long term economic benefit for Virginia."

The development of the commercial wind turbine test center in coastal Virginia would capitalize on the unique maritime advantages provided by The Port of Virginia. Hampton Roads is well-positioned to provide marine construction, fabrication and supply-chain support to the offshore wind industry.

"Northampton County is extremely excited with the prospect of being the home to the Poseidon Atlantic turbine test facility," said Willie Randall, chairman of the county's Board of Supervisors. "We look forward to doing our part to help the Commonwealth and the nation explore alternative energy sources. Evidence of our support for this project can be seen in the wind ordinance that was passed by the Board of Supervisors as proof of our commitment to economic growth and innovation."

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