The February General Membership Luncheon meeting was held virtually on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021 via VSRA’s Zoom account. The guest speaker was John Larson of Dominion Energy.
Larson thanked the VSRA board for having him as this month’s guest speaker and began his presentation with a general overview of what Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) is and how it works. Using simple yet effective slides showing an offshore wind power system, he detailed how the system is laid out, and how everything, from the wind turbines to the offshore substation, connect. Some key highlights included how the project will consist of nearly 200 wind turbines generating close to 3,000 megawatts in total capacity, and how this is the only offshore wind project owned by a U.S. utility.
Larson then went into the background and process of how this massive undertaking started for Virginia, noting that this project is the first offshore wind turbine in U.S. federal waters. Detailing the development and installation stages, Larson explained more than 20 studies and surveys were conducted to meet local, state, and federal regulations, and that over 27 miles of undersea cables were installed last May.
Larson then elaborated on the multitude of economic benefits CVOW has to offer the commonwealth, which included findings from a 2020 study projecting close to 1000 jobs created and $143 million generated annually during construction alone. For annual operation of these wind turbines, it is expected to generate almost $210 million in the state. Larson described how these economic benefits would be maximized through actively recruiting Virginia businesses through outreach programs, workforce development partnerships, and through commerce opportunities for vendors, subcontractors, and suppliers.
Larson then delved more into the role workforce plays, and how CVOW provides the opportunity for developing a clean energy workforce here in Virginia. He discussed how impressed he was with the workforce development initiatives VSRA spearheads, such as the Marine Trade Training program and VSRA classroom sessions, and that these are right in line with the types of skills needed for implementing offshore wind. In addition, he elaborated on how Dominion Energy wants to work closely with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and that they will focus on creating opportunities specifically for Virginia veterans, the local Hampton Roads workforce, and those socioeconomically disadvantaged.
At the end of his presentation, Larson announced that the OSW International Partnering Forum (IPF) business networking event would take place in Richmond, Virginia this upcoming August. After opening up the floor for a quick Q&A session, Larson once again thanked everyone for having him speak to the VSRA membership and looked forward to working with many of those in attendance in the future.
John Larson joined Dominion Energy in 1996 and is currently the Director of Public Policy and Economic Development. During John’s career at the company, he has held various leadership positions in business development, alternative energy technologies and construction. He is well versed in offshore wind through his experience in the development and early permitting activities for Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) Pilot Project.
Currently, a large part of his time is spent on Dominion Energy’s Business to Business, Workforce Development and Community Outreach activity for as the Company moves forward implementing the requirements of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, including the 16,100 MW of solar, 5,200 MW of offshore wind and 2,700 MW of storage, with the objective of maximizing opportunities for Virginia’s vendors, subcontractors, and suppliers.
John resides in Henrico County, Virginia with his wife and has three adult children. He graduated with a B.S in Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University.
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