Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina form partnership to develop offshore wind

The governors of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia struck a deal to advance offshore wind projects in the region and promote it as a hub for offshore wind energy and industry.

The new Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER) provides a framework for the three states to promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy. It will be overseen by a SMART-POWER leadership team with representatives from each state.

“Maryland has been leading the charge when it comes to real, bipartisan, common-sense solutions, and we are proud to continue setting an example for the nation of bold environmental leadership,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said. “Joining this multi-state partnership to expand offshore wind development will further our strong record of supporting responsible energy projects that provide jobs, clean air benefits, and energy independence.”

The three states recognize the offshore wind industry’s potential to drive economic development and job creation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Offshore wind development combined with our strong solar capacity will bring more high-paying, clean energy jobs to North Carolina while we continue to ramp up our fight against climate change,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. “This bipartisan agreement with neighboring states allows us to leverage our combined economic power and ideas to achieve cost-effective success.”

The collaboration will help the states increase regulatory certainty, encourage manufacturing of component parts, reduce project costs through supply chain development, share information and best practices, and promote synergy. Also, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia have great access to deep water ports and transportation infrastructure, as well as top-tier universities and research institutions, and highly trained workforces.

“Harnessing the power of offshore wind is key to meeting the urgency of the climate crisis and achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said. “Virginia is well-positioned to scale up offshore wind development with a 12-megawatt wind demonstration project already built off our coast. This agreement will help unlock our collective offshore wind resources and generate tremendous economic and environmental benefits for the region.”

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) came out in support of the partnership.

“We applaud this bipartisan move by Governors Hogan, Hooper, and Northam to harness the employment and investment benefits that offshore wind development represents to their individual states and the whole region. By adding multi-state coordination to their individual efforts, the three states will be able to move forward more efficiently to develop their infrastructure and local supply chains to unleash this brand-new American energy industry and the jobs and investments that come with it. The offshore wind industry stands ready to support the states as we work together to bring clean, reliable, and affordable power to communities in the U.S. Southeast and Mid-Atlantic,” Laura Morton, AWEA senior director of policy and regulatory affairs for offshore wind, said.

Dave Kovaleski

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