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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 18. Wind Energy
12/7/2021

Chapter 18. Wind Energy.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 45.2-1800. (Effective October 1, 2021) Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Authority" means the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority established pursuant to Article 2 (§ 45.2-1803 et seq.).

"Division" means the Division of Offshore Wind in the Department as established pursuant to § 45.2-1802.

"Hampton Roads region" means the same as that term is defined in § 22.1-356.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1801. (Effective October 1, 2021) Offshore wind energy resources; policy.

It is the policy of the Commonwealth to support federal efforts to examine the feasibility of offshore wind energy being utilized in an environmentally responsible fashion.

2006, c. 939, § 67-300; 2010, cc. 607, 756; 2020, cc. 451, 452; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1802. (Effective October 1, 2021) Division of Offshore Wind established.

A. The Director shall establish the Division of Offshore Wind in the Department and shall appoint persons to direct, support, and execute the powers and duties of the Division.

B. The powers and duties of the Division include:

1. Identifying specific measures that will facilitate the establishment of the Hampton Roads region as a wind industry hub for offshore wind generation projects in state and federal waters off the United States coast;

2. Coordinating state agencies' activities related to offshore wind, including development of programs that prepare the Commonwealth's workforce to work in the offshore wind industry, create employment opportunities for Virginians within such industry, create opportunities for Commonwealth-based businesses to participate in the offshore wind industry supply chain, and attract out-of-state offshore wind-related businesses to locate within the Commonwealth;

3. Developing and implementing a stakeholder engagement strategy that identifies key groups, sets forth outreach objectives, and outlines a timeline for outreach and engagement;

4. Identifying regulatory and other barriers to the deployment of offshore wind and attraction of offshore wind supply chain businesses; and

5. Providing staff support for the Authority and facilitating fulfillment of the Authority's purpose and duties set forth in Article 2 (§ 45.2-1803 et seq.).

C. On or before October 15 of each year, the Division shall submit an annual summary of its activities, the ways in which those activities have furthered the functions and programs of the Division, and the benefits of the efforts of the Division to the Commonwealth and its economy to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, the House Committee on Labor and Commerce, and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor. The Division may include its submission with the report of the Authority required by § 45.2-1808.

2020, c. 794, § 45.1-161.5:1; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 2. Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority.

§ 45.2-1803. (Effective October 1, 2021) Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Developer" means any private developer of an offshore wind energy project.

"Offshore wind energy project" means a wind-powered electric energy facility, including tower, turbine, and associated equipment, located off the coast of the Commonwealth beyond the Commonwealth's three-mile jurisdictional limit, and includes interests in land, improvements, and ancillary facilities.

"Transmission study" means a study to determine the potential interconnection options to accommodate multiple offshore wind energy projects in the Hampton Roads region.

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1200; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1804. (Effective October 1, 2021) Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority established; purpose.

A. The Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority is established as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth.

B. The Authority is established for the purposes of facilitating, coordinating, and supporting the development, either by the Authority or by other qualified entities, of the offshore wind energy industry, offshore wind energy projects, and associated supply chain vendors by (i) collecting relevant metocean and environmental data; (ii) identifying existing state and regulatory or administrative barriers to the development of the offshore wind energy industry; (iii) working in cooperation with relevant local, state, and federal agencies to upgrade port and other logistical facilities and sites to accommodate the manufacturing and assembly of offshore wind energy project components and vessels; and (iv) ensuring that the development of such projects is compatible with other ocean uses and avian and marine resources, including both the possible interference with and positive effects on naval facilities and operations, NASA-Wallops Flight Facility operations, shipping lanes, recreational and commercial fisheries, and avian and marine species and habitats.

C. The Authority shall, in cooperation with the relevant state and federal agencies as necessary, recommend ways to encourage and expedite the development of the offshore wind energy industry. The Authority shall also consult with research institutions, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and stakeholders as the Authority deems appropriate.

D. The Authority shall have only those powers enumerated in this article.

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1201; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1805. (Effective October 1, 2021) Membership; terms; vacancies; expenses.

A. The Authority shall be composed of nine nonlegislative citizen members appointed by the Governor, one of whom shall be a representative of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority as established in § 2.2-2202. In addition, one ex officio member without voting privileges shall be selected by the Governor after consideration of the persons nominated by the U.S. Secretary of the Navy. With the exception of the representative of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, all members of the Authority shall be citizens of the Commonwealth.

B. Except as otherwise provided in this article, all appointments shall be for terms of four years each. No member shall be eligible to serve more than two successive four-year terms. After expiration of an initial term of three years or less, two additional four-year terms may be served by such member if appointed thereto. Appointments to fill vacancies, other than by expiration of a term, shall be made for the unexpired terms. Any appointment to fill a vacancy shall be made in the same manner as the original appointment. The remainder of any term to which a member is appointed to fill a vacancy shall not constitute a term in determining the member's eligibility for reappointment.

C. The Authority shall appoint from its membership a chairman and a vice-chairman, each of whom shall serve in such capacity at the pleasure of the Authority. The chairman, or in his absence the vice-chairman, shall preside at each meeting of the Authority. The meetings of the Authority shall be held on the call of the chairman or whenever a majority of the members so request. A majority of members of the Authority serving at any one time shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

D. Members shall serve without compensation. However, all members may be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825. Such expenses shall be paid from such funds as may be appropriated to the Authority by the General Assembly.

E. Members of the Authority shall be subject to the standards of conduct set forth in the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (§ 2.2-3100 et seq.) and may be removed from office for misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, neglect of duty, or misconduct in the manner set forth therein.

F. Except as otherwise provided in this article, members of the Authority shall be subject to the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1202; 2011, c. 17; 2012, c. 502; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1806. (Effective October 1, 2021) Powers and duties of the Authority.

In addition to the other powers and duties established under this article, the Authority has the power and duty to:

1. Adopt, use, and alter at will an official seal;

2. Make bylaws for the management and regulation of its affairs;

3. Maintain an office at any place within the Commonwealth it designates;

4. Accept, hold, and administer moneys, grants, securities, or other property transferred, given, or bequeathed to the Authority, absolutely or in trust, from any source, public or private, for the purposes for which the Authority is established;

5. Make and execute contracts and all other instruments and agreements necessary or convenient for the exercise of its powers and functions;

6. Employ, in its discretion, consultants, attorneys, architects, engineers, accountants, financial experts, investment bankers, superintendents, managers, and any other employees and agents necessary, and fix their compensation to be payable from funds made available to the Authority;

7. Invest its funds as permitted by applicable law;

8. Receive and accept from any federal or private agency, foundation, corporation, association, or person grants, donations of money, or real or personal property for the benefit of the Authority, and receive and accept from the Commonwealth or any other state, from any municipality, county, or other political subdivision thereof, or from any other source, aid or contributions of either money, property, or other things of value, to be held, used, and applied for the purposes for which such grants and contributions may be made;

9. Enter into agreements with any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States or of the Commonwealth and with lenders and enter into loans with contracting parties for the purpose of planning, regulating, and providing for the financing or assisting in the financing of any project;

10. Do any lawful act necessary or appropriate to carry out the powers granted or reasonably implied in this article;

11. Identify and take steps to mitigate existing state and regulatory or administrative barriers to the development of the offshore wind energy industry, including facilitating any permitting processes; and

12. Enter into interstate partnerships to develop the offshore wind energy industry and offshore wind energy projects.

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1207; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1807. (Effective October 1, 2021) Director; staff; counsel to the Authority.

A. The Director shall serve as Director of the Authority and shall administer the affairs and business of the Authority in accordance with the provisions of this article and subject to the policies, control, and direction of the Authority. The Director shall maintain and is custodian of all books, documents, and papers of or filed with the Authority. The Director may cause copies to be made of all minutes and other records and documents of the Authority and may give certificates under seal of the Authority to the effect that such copies are true copies, and all persons dealing with the Authority may rely on such certificates. The Director also shall perform such other duties as prescribed by the Authority in carrying out the purposes of this article.

B. The Division shall serve as staff to the Authority.

C. The Office of the Attorney General shall provide counsel to the Authority.

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1208; 2020, c. 794; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1808. (Effective October 1, 2021) Annual report.

On or before October 15 of each year, the Authority shall submit an annual summary of its activities and recommendations to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, the House Committee on Labor and Commerce, and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor. Such report may include the submission of the Division required by § 45.2-1802.

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1209; 2020, c. 794; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1809. (Effective October 1, 2021) Confidentiality of information.

A. The Authority shall hold in confidence the personal and financial information supplied to it or maintained by it concerning the siting and development of offshore wind energy projects.

B. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Authority, in its discretion, from releasing any information that has been transformed into a statistical or aggregate form that does not allow the identification of the person who supplied particular information.

C. Information supplied by or maintained on any person or entity applying for or receiving an allocation of any federal loan guarantee, as well as specific information relating to the amount of, or the identity of the recipient of, such distribution, shall be subject to disclosure in accordance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1210; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1810. (Effective October 1, 2021) Declaration of public purpose; exemption from taxation.

A. The exercise of the powers granted by this article shall be in all respects for the benefit of the citizens of the Commonwealth and for the promotion of their welfare, convenience, and prosperity.

B. The Authority shall be deemed to be performing an essential governmental function in the exercise of the powers conferred upon it by this article, and the property of the Authority and its income and operations shall be exempt from taxation or assessments upon any property acquired or used by the Authority under the provisions of this article.

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1211; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1811. (Effective October 1, 2021) Operation.

The Authority shall, through moneys derived from sources other than state funds, to the extent such moneys are available, operate in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to upgrade wind resource and other metocean assessment equipment at Chesapeake Light Tower and other structures.

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1203; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1812. (Effective October 1, 2021) Public-private partnerships.

A. The Authority may establish public-private partnerships with developers pursuant to the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (§ 56-575.1 et seq.) for purposes set forth in this section.

B. The Authority may establish a public-private partnership for the installation and operation of wind resource and other metocean equipment, including light detection and ranging equipment, meteorological measurement towers, and data collection platforms. Any partnership established pursuant to this subsection shall stipulate that:

1. The Authority and the developer shall share the costs of the upgrade;

2. The developer, in coordination with the Authority and relevant state and federal agencies, shall operate any meteorological measurement towers and data collection platforms; and

3. The developer shall make all collected data available to the Authority.

C. The Authority may establish a public-private partnership for the collection of avian and marine environmental data. Any partnership established pursuant to this subsection shall stipulate that:

1. The Authority and the developer shall share the costs of data collection;

2. The developer, in coordination with the Authority and relevant state and federal agencies, shall manage the environmental data collection process; and

3. The developer shall make all collected data available to the Authority.

D. The Authority may make any data collected pursuant to subsection B or C available to the public.

E. The Authority may establish a public-private partnership for the upgrade of port facilities and other logistical equipment and sites to accommodate the manufacturing and assembly of offshore wind energy project components and vessels that will support the construction and operations of offshore wind energy projects. Any partnership established pursuant to this subsection shall stipulate that the Authority and the entities shall share the costs of the upgrade.

2010, cc. 507, 681, §§ 67-1203, 67-1204; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1813. (Effective October 1, 2021) Federal loan guarantees.

A. The Authority, on behalf of the Commonwealth, may apply to the U.S. Department of Energy for federal loan guarantees authorized or made available pursuant to Title XVII of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58; the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, P.L. 111-5; or other similar federal legislation to facilitate the development of offshore wind energy projects.

B. Upon obtaining a federal loan guarantee for an offshore wind energy project pursuant to subsection A, the Authority, subject to any restrictions imposed by federal law, may allocate or assign all or any portion thereof to a qualified third party on terms and conditions the Authority finds appropriate. Any action of the Authority relating to the allocation and assignment of such loan guarantee shall be exempt from the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) pursuant to subdivision B 4 of § 2.2-4002. Any decision of the Authority pursuant to this section shall be final and not subject to review or appeal.

2010, cc. 507, 681, § 67-1205; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.