Baltimore-based offshore wind developer US Wind is urging Maryland legislators to take up the proposed Clean Energy Jobs act.
In testimony this week before Senate Finance Committee and House Economic Matters Committee of the Maryland General Assembly, Salvo Vitale, US Wind’s country manager, urged members to support H.B.1158 and its Senate companion, S.B.516. He cited the significant economic benefits that the legislation would make possible by incentivizing the development of 1.2 GW of additional offshore wind energy off the coast of Maryland.
“This transformational legislation would serve to re-assert Maryland’s leadership position in the fast-developing offshore wind energy sector underway in the United States, creating an additional 5,000-7,000 direct jobs; an additional $18 million to be deposited in the Offshore Wind Business Development Fund; approximately $5 billion in new capital expenditures; and thousands of tons more of carbon emissions reduced or avoided altogether,” said Vitale. “With only 358 MW currently available for development here in our state – which amounts to 0.358 GW – and no further incentive to develop more, Maryland risks ceding its leadership position as other states along the eastern seaboard move aggressively to increase the proportion that offshore wind energy accounts for in their own state renewable energy goals.”
Vitale cited the number of supply chain companies of all sizes seeking to locate new facilities throughout the East Coast in order to meet the growing needs of the burgeoning energy sector.
“Without question, the primary driver for these supply companies is the offshore wind development capacity, and it all comes down to the question of how many mega- or gigawatts can they rely on. Right now, the answer is clear, and Maryland is falling behind,” he said.
US Wind previously secured a federal lease to develop a total of 1 GW of offshore wind energy through a competitive bid process. In May 2017, US Wind’s project was approved to receive offshore renewable energy credits for an initial phase, involving the placement of approximately 32 wind turbines in federal waters off the coast of Maryland. The project is expected to generate approximately 270 MW of energy, enough to power more than 76,000 homes. The developer expects the wind farm to be operational in 2021.
“The time has come for Maryland to again act boldly,” Vitale added. “We can still capture large sectors of the offshore wind industry – our world-class assets, expansive port infrastructure, skilled workforce and the potential to develop an even larger skilled workforce, in addition to top research and development universities. Hopefully, Maryland will once again take the lead.”