Port of Virginia Achieves Historic Milestone as First U.S. East Coast Port Powered by 100% Clean Electricity

Landmark Move Accelerates Carbon-Neutrality Goal to 2040 and Sets a Global Standard for Sustainable Maritime Operations.


In a groundbreaking development, the Port of Virginia has achieved a significant milestone by transitioning all its terminals to operate exclusively on electricity derived from clean and renewable resources, propelling the port towards its ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2040.

Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA), proudly announced, “Virginia is the first major U.S. East Coast port to power its entire operation using 100% clean electricity. In doing so, the port is building upon its reputation as America’s Most Modern Gateway.” This strategic move aligns with the port’s commitment to advancing sustainability objectives while solidifying its standing as a modern and environmentally conscious gateway.

By harnessing clean electricity, the port has successfully mitigated its carbon footprint, achieving an impressive 45% reduction in carbon emissions per container. This reduction is attributed to addressing emissions in two critical areas, namely, scope 1 (direct emissions from equipment exhaust) and scope 2 (emissions arising from the electricity used to power and charge electric equipment, as well as supplying energy to port infrastructure such as lighting, heating, and air conditioning).

Notably, the Port of Virginia has exceeded its initial target of transitioning to clean energy by 2032, accomplishing the feat eight years ahead of schedule. Glenn Davis, director of the Virginia Department of Energy, acknowledged the port’s leadership in innovation and growth, particularly in the energy sector, highlighting the port’s pioneering efforts in utilizing 100% clean energy for its entire operational spectrum.

Currently, the port operates an extensive fleet of electric stacking cranes, electric rail cranes, and electric ship-to-shore cranes, totaling 116, four, and 27 units respectively. The port’s commitment to sustainability is further emphasized by its plans to expand and optimize the North Berth at Norfolk International Terminals, adding 36 additional electric cranes to its fleet.

This groundbreaking shift towards clean electricity is made possible through strategic partnerships, including a Power Purchase Agreement with Dominion Energy and a rider with Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. These agreements ensure a sustainable and reliable supply of clean energy to meet the port’s current and future operational requirements.

Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy’s Chair, President, and CEO, emphasized their commitment to supporting the Port of Virginia in becoming the first net-zero port on the U.S. East Coast. The port’s dedication to sustainability is further exemplified by its $220 million investment in the development of the U.S. East Coast’s inaugural offshore wind logistics hub at Portsmouth Marine Terminal, supporting Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project—the largest offshore wind project in the United States. This forward-looking initiative positions the Port of Virginia at the forefront of the nation’s clean energy transition.

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