Offshore wind developers, supply chain industry leaders, economic development experts, and federal and state agency officials participated in an informational meeting hosted by Maryland-based US Wind Inc. on February 2. The meeting was held at Maritime Applied Physics Corporation in Baltimore and was the fourth in a series of meetings that US Wind has led, dedicated to building business partnerships and bringing industry leaders to Maryland. Previous meetings have been held at the Port of Baltimore and in Salisbury, Md.
Attendees discussed offshore wind workforce development needs, as US Wind plans to build the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind power project and will create almost 5,000 total well-paying construction and skilled manufacturing jobs and almost 100 long-term operations and maintenance careers. The project, 12 miles off the coast of Ocean City, Md. would produce 750 MW of renewable energy, and construct up to 187 turbines.
Data from the Maryland Energy Administration shows that Maryland gets most of its renewable energy requirements from out-of-state sources. Importing electricity from outside of Maryland increases costs to ratepayers and benefits out-of-state energy companies. US Wind’s offshore wind project will generate electricity in Maryland and inject much-needed electric power to our regional electric grid, where high demand has resulted in so-called “congestion fees.” According to US Wind’s calculations, its project can significantly mitigate the imbalance causing the congestion fees.
The latest meeting highlighted workforce development opportunities and potential partnerships with labor groups, community colleges and other sectors.
“Now is the time to bring back steel manufacturing and fabrication to Maryland,” said Jeremy Moses, President of Heavy Metal Corp. “Offshore wind is coming to the Atlantic Coast, and we want to be part of this exciting new industry.”
US Wind officials say they want to make Maryland the epicenter of the emerging offshore wind industry. US Wind has attracted global companies to its informational meetings, suggesting a strong interest among the industry in creating a Maryland presence. According to US Wind, Maryland is ideally suited to become the East Coast hub of the industry, because of a highly motivated workforce and key rail and port infrastructure.
US Wind is one of two developers whose applications for a Maryland offshore wind farm are being considered by the Public Service Commission (PSC) during a 180-day period, which began on November 28. All applications to the PSC are required to meet criteria spelled out in the 2013 Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act. US Wind’s application is the only one that utilizes the designated Maryland Offshore Wind Area. It’s application was determined to be administratively complete by the Public Service Commission and to have met all ratepayers’ safeguard criteria.
Filed Under: Offshore wind