The Role of Manufacturing in Virginia’s Clean-Tech Revolution

A growing population, growing businesses, growing jobs, and growing economy must prepare for the infrastructure and energy needs of tomorrow. Here in growing Virginia, we blend traditional manufacturing expertise with cutting-edge clean energy solutions as part of our Clean-tech Energy Initiative. The state is committed to diversifying its energy portfolio into three core energies: nuclear, wind, and solar power.

As manufacturers expand to support clean energy, Virginia is on its way to becoming a hub of innovation in clean technology.

In this blog, we will cover:

  • Clean energy goals and initiatives outlined in the 2022 Virginia Energy Plan
  • Manufacturing innovation and a recent example in Charlottesville
  • How clean-tech stimulates economic growth and job creation in VA
  • Historical insights into how clean-tech boosts Virginia’s infrastructure
  • One real-life example from GENEDGE’s manufacturing operations support

Clean Energy Goals and Initiatives

Virginia’s clean energy ambitions are outlined in the 2022 Virginia Energy Plan in response to the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which advocates for reliable, affordable, clean energy. The plan embraces a diverse energy mix that includes natural gas, nuclear, renewables, and emerging technologies. With strategic investments in hydrogen generation, carbon capture, and small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs), Virginia is charting a path through 2024 toward a sustainable energy future

Here’s How:

Manufacturing and Innovation

Virginia’s manufacturing is central to realizing these clean energy goals. Advanced manufacturing methods are improving performance and lowering emissions. Innovations in areas like solar panel production and wind turbine assembly are strengthening the clean energy supply chain. Virginia is home to leading nuclear energy companies and cutting-edge research institutions that are developing next-generation technologies. Their clean energy manufacturing services are an essential contributor to this advancement.

“As we look to build on our dominance in energy-intensive industries like data centers and advanced computing and increase our leadership in emerging fields like advanced manufacturing, ag-tech, and biopharmaceuticals, we know that our grid must deliver power, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and it must deliver that power at a competitive price,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin, in a statement on the Energy Plan.

Read more about specific clean energy strategies in manufacturing from GENEDGE here.

offshore wind turbines seen in Virginia

Economic Growth and Job Creation

Virginia is generating high-paying jobs and stimulating economic growth by nurturing a strong, clean-tech manufacturing sector. One key example is the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project. Scheduled for completion in February 2027, this $9.8 billion project will be the largest offshore wind project in the United States. The CVOW will feature 176 wind turbines, with a combined capacity of 2.6 gigawatts—sufficient to power up to 660,000 homes at a 42% capacity factor.

Offshore wind energy boosts Virginia’s economy and positions the state as a global leader in emerging supply chains and clean energy manufacturing products. The inherent advantage of offshore wind is its low resource intensity once the turbines are operational, as it doesn’t require fuel to generate power. This makes it an attractive alternative to traditional energy sources, especially for a coastal state with abundant wind resources like Virginia.

New technologies must have safeguards to protect consumers. Projects like CVOW show how important it is to stay on time and budget and produce the expected power levels. Equally promising is solar energy, one of the cheapest forms of energy on a levelized cost basis. As the solar supply chain increasingly returns to the U.S., Virginia’s strong infrastructure and existing renewable energy industry make it a potential hub for domestic solar manufacturing. With several leading solar companies engaged in research and development, Virginia is set to heavily incorporate solar energy into its clean-tech future.

Workers at a renewable energy plan. Jobs that produce energy in responsible and sustainable way

Supporting Infrastructure

Virginia’s strategic investments in port facilities, highways, and rail networks are important to building the perfect supply chain for clean energy components and products. These infrastructure upgrades facilitate the smooth transition from traditional to clean energy sources, aligning with the Commonwealth’s goals of reliability and affordability.

According to the 2021 Virginia Infrastructure Report prepared by PJM, the state’s service territory has a robust generation portfolio: natural gas accounts for approximately 50.4% of total installed capacity, hydro for 15.4%, and nuclear for 13.7%. Solar energy is rapidly gaining traction, making up 61.9% of new interconnection requests, aided by clean energy manufacturing services.

PJM forecasts that Virginia’s peak load growth will range from 0.0% to 2.7% annually over the next ten years, indicating the need for a reliable and flexible grid. In the 2022/23 Capacity Market auction, 8,797 MW was cleared, demonstrating the grid’s ability to support existing and new clean energy projects. With ongoing infrastructure upgrades, the state is well-prepared to meet the increasing demand for clean, advanced, and reliable energy sources.

Virginia's Strategic Investments for Supporting Infrastructure

How GENEDGE Gets Involved

One example of clean-tech energy solutions in Virginia is Directed Vapor Technologies, Inc. (DVTI) in Charlottesville. DVTI focuses on advanced coating technology for energy applications. Their vacuum deposition process provides excellent coverage and adhesion, addressing thermal barrier protection and conductivity challenges. With support from GENEDGE and their clean energy manufacturing services, DVTI aligned its technology with market needs. It led to an estimated $9 million sales increase and the creation of 10 new jobs in the coming years.

Do you live in Charlottesville or the surrounding cities in Region 4? Reach out to your Regional Growth Manager, Scott Schein, with GENEDGE, for more help with clean energy management in manufacturing.

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