Three states — Maryland, Virginia, N. Carolina — to collaborate on offshore wind projects

Source: By Patricia Sullivan, Washington Post • Posted: Sunday, November 1, 2020

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, center, looks at wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach in June. Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina are entering into an agreement to promote the region as a hub for offshore wind energy and industry.

The windblown coastal states of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina will join forces to build offshore power projects and promote the region as a hub for offshore wind energy and industry, the states’ governors announced Thursday.

The collaboration will attempt to make it easier and more predictable for companies to work across the three states, encourage manufacturing of parts for wind turbines and other infrastructure, and reduce project costs through supply chain development, a joint news release said.

“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 Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said. “Virginia is well-positioned to scale up offshore wind development with a 12-megawatt wind demonstration project already built off our coast.”

“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 Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said. “Joining this multistate 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 Mid-Atlantic states already have a competitor in New Jersey, which announced in June that it wants to be known as the hub of the nation’s offshore wind energy industry. Rhode Island has five turbines in state waters, and about half a dozen other states are pursuing projects.

In addition to Virginia’s demonstration project, North Carolina has issued a request for proposals to analyze the state’s ports and manufacturing supply chain. Maryland is in the process of reviewing two proposed offshore projects near Ocean City.

Mike Tidwell, founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, called the collaboration “absolutely a good thing.”

While critics of wind energy, including President Trump, have said the technology is harmful to birds and bats, Tidwell said it is a better alternative to traditional energy sources.

“There’s no perfect energy system,” Tidwell said. “Offshore wind doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be better than oil, coal and gas.”

According to the U.S. Energy Department, the Atlantic Coast offshore wind project pipeline is estimated to support up to 86,000 jobs, $57 billion in investments and provide up to $25 billion in economic output by 2030.