Ross Tyler / Business Network for Offshore Wind
Maryland’s offshore wind opportunity has not been in recent news. Activities in other states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, overshadowed the procedural advancement of the Maryland Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit (OREC), an up to $1.9 billion financing mechanism, to be awarded by Public Service Commission, on May 17, 2017.
The buildup of the OREC award throughout this Spring is newsworthy, as it will demonstrate the first successful publicly supported finance mechanism for offshore wind in the United States.
US Wind and Skipjack Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of Deepwater Wind, are the two developers competing to be awarded the OREC financing. Both have submitted viable projects and are currently under review. A decision to award the OREC will be made May 17th, 2017.
On January 9th, 2017, US Wind organized the 3rdmeeting within its offshore wind information series in Salisbury, Maryland. Following opening remarks, the Business Network for Offshore Wind was invited to report on the state of the industry and provided the following points:
- The U.S. offshore wind market is here to stay and grow.There are few new offshore wind lease areas in Europe and the developers, along with the supply chain businesses, are seeking new markets. Asia and the United States are strong contenders however the U.S. market provides new opportunities at a scale that will help drive down costs globally.
- Maryland can expect significant job impacts from offshore wind.The highest profile job opportunities arise from the domestic production of the primary components such as foundations, transition pieces, blades, and cables. The production of the large and heavy primary components requires a port, such as Baltimore, with good deep water access. By meeting with secondary and tertiary supply chain businesses in Europe the Network recently learned the importance of understanding the dynamic and necessities of the industry. Secondary and tertiary suppliers that are involved in providing products such as scaffolding, coatings, ladders, fastenings, hydraulics, concrete and electrical components – companies that are to be found on the Eastern shore of Maryland – could be called upon at any time during installation as well as over the 25 year operations and maintenance lifetime of the project. Intracompany relationships and trust are vital in the formation of the offshore wind supply chains. Case studies of European businesses entering the offshore wind supply chain often have an underlying story line of being called in because of a pressing need or stemming from a recommendation made by an established supply chain member. Intracompany relationships and trust are essential.
- Interfacing with developers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other supply chain members to feature and to remind colleagues of businesses’ capabilities remains key to becoming part of the emerging U.S. supply chain. Equally important is the need to stay engaged in understanding the changes in the offshore wind industry as it seeks to become more efficient with lower costs. The changes bring opportunities which are opening for new players.
The Network helps its members with both these strategies through organizing meetings, regional events, and its signature event, the International Partnering Forum – which in 2017 is taking place in Annapolis, Maryland (April 19 to 21, 2017). In addition, for members seeking to witness firsthand the full spectrum of European offshore wind market, the Network is organizing a pavilion to attend the Global Offshore Wind Conference and Exhibition in London (June 6 to 8, 2017). The Network is presently working on site visits to ports and or manufacturing sites within Europe, which will occur before and after the Global offshore wind event. For more information, contact Executive Director Liz Burdock (liz@BizMDOSW.org)
The Network will host a supply chain information meeting for its Members and Maryland companies on March 7th. Both Skipjack Energy, LLC and US Wind will make a presentation on the projects and contracting strategies.