Port of Virginia has become the first East Coast port to operate entirely on clean energy, marking an impressive start to the New Year. The port's terminals are now powered by electricity from renewable sources, propelling it eight years ahead of its initial 2032 target to utilize clean energy for operations. The milestone is part of the port's accelerated commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2040.
Already sourcing a portion of its electricity from renewables, the Port of Virginia expanded its access to clean energy through a power purchase agreement approved by the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners. The agreement facilitated the allocation of an additional 10% of energy from 345 MW of solar projects by Dominion Energy, supplementing the port's proportionate share from the original contract.
With a focus on sustainability, the port's clean energy initiative is expected to offset its carbon footprint significantly, achieving a 45% reduction per container. This reduction targets both scope 1 emissions (from equipment exhaust) and scope 2 emissions (generated from the electricity used for various port operations).
Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA), proudly stated, “Virginia is the first major US East Coast port to power its entire operation using 100 percent clean electricity.” He emphasized that the port's commitment aligns with its reputation as America's Most Modern Gateway, combining world-class cargo operations with a dedication to advancing sustainable practices.
The port's fleet of electric equipment includes 116 electric stacking cranes, four electric rail cranes, and 27 electric ship-to-shore cranes. Future plans for the optimization of the North Berth at Norfolk International Terminals will expand this fleet to 152, seven, and 31, respectively.
This transition to clean electricity is facilitated through a power purchase agreement with Dominion Energy and a rider with Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. The agreements aim to ensure the generation and allocation of sufficient clean energy to meet all current and future operational requirements of the port.
Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy's Chair, President, and CEO, highlighted the partnership, stating, “Helping The Port of Virginia become the first net-zero port on the US East Coast is part of our core mission to provide our customers with reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy.”
As part of its commitment to clean energy, the Port of Virginia is investing $220 million in developing the US East Coast's first offshore wind logistics hub in Portsmouth at Portsmouth Marine Terminal. This project supports Dominion Energy's Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, the largest offshore wind project in the United States to date, and further underscores the port's dedication to advancing sustainable practices.