Port of Virginia Transitioning to 100% Clean Energy by 2024
Norfolk, VA – Thomas Turner (Conservatives for Clean Energy, Virginia) recently had the opportunity to sit down with representatives at the Port of Virginia to learn more about their recent announcement of a 100% clean energy goal by 2024. The port already powers some of its needs with renewable energy, but a new power purchase agreement signed this year will allow it to power all of its energy needs with solar, nuclear and wind resources through Dominion Energy. The Port uses roughly 130,000 megawatt-hours of electricity each year.
Turner met with Mr. Andrew Sinclair, Director of Government Affairs- Federal, and Mr. Scott Whitehurst, Director of Environmental Policy and Compliance for the Port of Virginia. The Port’s announcement is consistent with actions taken by other major corporate leaders in the United States and the majority of citizens who support increasing our reliance on clean energy sources over time. Embracing clean energy is a business decision to attract new customers and remain competitive in the marketplace. Read below to learn more about why the port will utilize 100% clean energy by 2024!
1.) What led to the decision for the Port to make this move toward clean energy?
The Port of Virginia has been working to reduce emissions for many years because it is the right thing to do as a steward of the environment AND we have been able to find ways to test and potentially implement new technology while also reducing fuel consumption. Our latest initiative, Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040 is a continuation of the work we started over a decade ago with an emphasis on GHG reduction while leveraging that green technology to drive business. For the last several months the port has been evaluating industry partners to determine our common ground as it relates to GHG and carbon reduction goals. We are using this information to inform our outreach efforts and bring like-minded business to Virginia. While this is the latest initiative we are working on; the port has been greening our cargo moves for over a decade. For a number of years we have deployed green switcher locomotives, a barge service hosting upgraded marine engines, and other alternate powered/fueled cargo handling equipment on our busiest container terminals.
2.)What steps were taken to move this ahead by 5 years?
Developing good relationships and negotiation with state energy partners and our power provider. AND we were positioned to be able to have those types of discussions before others.
3.) How would this bring more opportunities to the industry?
As it relates to SCOPE 1 emissions, the demonstration of the technologies in place at the Port of Virginia has and will continue to serve as industry examples which other ports MAY find applicable to their specific operation.
4.) What sources of Clean Energy would be used or are currently being used to run the day-to-day operations?
There are currently only those that are provided by Dominion via their existing green energy portfolio as a state entity. The port has no on-terminal energy projects for example, but has a PPA in place with Dominion to provide 100% clean power to our facilities in about 2 years. We are working independently on the Virginia Inland Port with our provider there.
5.) The port is a major attraction for potential industries in Virginia. What role is the port playing in building out the supply chain for offshore wind?
In the near future, Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) will serve as an offshore wind staging hub providing movement of wind turbine components to CVOW and other projects. PMT will also serve as a green blade finishing facility.
6.) How does going 100% clean energy at the port help recruit more businesses to use the port?
We feel that in the near future the Port of Virginia will be considered a “SCOPE 3 partner” of a number of companies. We are positioning ourselves to be a responsible partner in an effort to assist them with their GHG reduction goals should they choose to send cargo through our terminals.
7.) What are companies using to fuel their ships today, and is there a vision for using cleaner fuels long term?
Ships calling here are primarily burning ULSD when alongside. We have been partnering with some industry partners discussing alternate fuels in ocean going vessels such as LNG and the capability to fuel when at our facilities.