Wind Energy Siting Project
Old Dominion University’s efforts to be a leader in the development and implementation of offshore wind technology on the Virginia coast are paying dividends for the Commonwealth. The University has won a $775,000 grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of the Secretary of Veterans and Defense, with partners from the College of William & Mary and James Madison University.
The grant will help create a wind energy siting solution to mitigate the effects of location decision on military training, readiness and research, covering both offshore and onshore wind projects.
Tom Allen, professor of geography, will serve as principal investigator. The effort will be coordinated by Jerry Cronin of ODU’s OpenSeas Technology Innovation Hub.
In 2019, Old Dominion University established an offshore wind task force to help align public- and private-sector interests as Dominion Energy Inc. prepares to build a 220-turbine wind farm approximately 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast. The planned $7.8 billion megaproject would be the largest offshore wind farm in the country when fully built.
The task force has won a total of $1.8 million in external funding in the past 12 months. Paul Olsen, ODU’s executive director for programs and partnerships, attended the Commonwealth’s offshore wind bill signing ceremony at the Virginia Aquarium in late June, which was followed by a several-hour trip aboard three vessels to tour Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project.
ODU’s focus on offshore wind research has opened opportunities for the University apart from the $1.8 million in grants already received.
Olsen said George Hagerman, senior project scientist with ODU’s Coastal Center for Physical Oceanography, leads a team of nationally recognized offshore wind project scientists.
Due to the limitations of the COVID-19 virus, only a small group of elected, industry and non-profit officials were able to visit the actual turbines. Olsen was selected to represent ODU because of the University’s offshore wind efforts, but also its maritime research.
Olsen, Hagerman and program specialist Rema McManus lead the region’s 200-member offshore wind task force, which has representatives from industry, academia, nonprofits and government, with a shared goal of leveraging Virginia’s natural geographic and supply chain advantages to become a national leader in offshore wind research and development.