RALEIGH — The governors of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia announced last week a three-state collaboration to advance offshore wind projects in the region and promote the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic United States as a hub for offshore wind energy and industry.
The creation of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER) provides a framework for the three states to cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce. Specifically, the three states agree to form a SMART-POWER Leadership Team with representatives from each signatory jurisdiction that will work to streamline the development of regional offshore wind resources.
“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,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “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.”
A joint press release pointed to the emergence of offshore wind developers and supply chain companies around the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. “Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia recognize that the fast-growing, global offshore wind industry has significant potential to drive economic development and job creation as well as reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants,” the statement read. According to the United State Department of Energy, 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.
“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,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This bipartisan agreement with neighboring states allows us to leverage our combined economic power and ideas to achieve cost effective success.”
Through this partnership, the three states have committed to work together to increase regulatory certainty, encourage manufacturing of component parts, reduce project costs through supply chain development, share information and best practices, and promote synergy between industry and the signatory jurisdictions.
“Harnessing the power of offshore wind is key to meeting the urgency of the climate crisis and achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “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. We look forward to working with our partners in Maryland and North Carolina to grow the offshore wind industry and secure a cleaner, healthier, and more resilient future.”
The partnership statement noted that Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia have access to helpful resources and assets, such as deepwater ports and transportation infrastructure, top-tier universities and research institutions, and highly trained workforces to support the offshore wind industry and supply chain efficiently develop along the Atlantic Coast.