The Future of Offshore Wind in Maryland
Maryland Deems Offshore Wind a Vital Role in Fighting Climate Change
Offshore wind is a renewable resource capable of providing U.S. coastal states with abundant amounts of energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates U.S. offshore wind can have more than 4,200 gigawatts of capacity. For comparison, the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant produces up to 1.79 gigawatts (1,790 megawatts).
The Biden Administration has also included offshore wind provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. These provisions solidify the resource’s country-wide importance in fighting climate change, job creation, and economic development. With these developments, the question of Maryland policymakers, businesses, and residents remains: Does Maryland plan to have a role in this new frontier?
The answer is an overwhelming yes. In the 2023 Legislative Session, Maryland legislators passed a series of bills to support Maryland’s aim to fight climate change. The Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources Act (Senate Bill 0781) passed with hopes to expand the offshore wind industry by requiring new analysis of transmission system upgrade options and updated reporting of the Public Service Commission’s Supplier Diversity Program.
Offshore wind is gaining traction outside of the assembly room, too. This spring, the Business Network for Offshore Wind hosted their annual International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF). This forum connected global leaders and businesses, providing them with the most current industry updates. Among the impressive list of speakers – including U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Kevin Sligh, and U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk – was Maryland’s Governor Wes Moore.
At IPF, Gov. Moore announced he and his administration plan to increase the amount of energy produced by offshore wind from 2 gigawatts to 8.5, quadrupling current production numbers. To meet this goal, the administration aims to develop new lease areas and support the current offshore wind supply chain. These efforts will also support Maryland’s ambitious goal for 100% clean energy by 2035.
Offshore wind has the potential to do much more than fight climate change. The current supply chain and manufacturing capacity will need to expand, and Gov. Moore anticipates this growth will provide nearly 15,000 jobs.
With the new legislation, job creation, and support from the Governor, offshore wind will be helping to power Maryland.