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Company kills $200m wind turbine manufacturing facility in Portsmouth

Siemens Energy says the company will still fulfill its obligation to supply Dominion’s offshore wind project. (Photo by Katherine Hafner)
Siemens Energy says the company will still fulfill its obligation to supply Dominion’s offshore wind project. (Photo by Katherine Hafner)
http://assets.whro.org/pod_231110_TURBINEFACILITY_MURPHY.mp3

Siemens Energy is pulling the plug on a planned $200 million wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Portsmouth.

“Development milestones to establish the facility could not be met,” a spokesperson wrote Friday. The company declined to elaborate on problems at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, where the facility was set to be built.

When it was announced, the Portsmouth facility was expected to employ more than 300 peopleand manufacture blades for 100 turbines each year.

The project was the centerpiece of an effort by elected officials to position Hampton Roads as a hub for the burgeoning wind industry in America.

Siemens Gamesa, a Spanish-German subsidiary of Siemens Energy, is the world’s largest marker of offshore wind turbines. They were going to build and operate the Portsmouth facility to cut down on costs and challenges of shipping turbine components across the ocean.

But recent problems with malfunctioning wind turbines and decline in wind turbine construction are expected to cost its parent company billions of dollars.

Last month, Reuters reported Siemens Energy was considering shuttering some of the subsidiaries’ factories and sales offices to stem the losses.

A spokesperson for Siemens Energy did not indicate if the cancellation of the Portsmouth facility was related to the company’s larger pullback from the wind sector. 

The project dovetailed with preparation for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, a major wind farm planned 27 miles off Virginia Beach. Dominion Energy just got the first of two federal approvals to start construction last week.

Dominion said Friday that the blades for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project were never expected to be manufactured at the Portsmouth facility, due to the timing of both projects. The utility will import blades manufactured by Seimens Gamesa in Europe, which Dominion said was always the plan.

Siemens Energy said the decision to cancel the Portsmouth facility will not impact its ability to fulfill its obligation to provide turbine blades to Dominion.

Ryan is WHRO’s business and growth reporter. He joined the newsroom in 2021 after eight years at local newspapers, the Daily Press and Virginian-Pilot. Ryan is a Chesapeake native and still tries to hold his breath every time he drives through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.


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