Md. and Va. are part of an alliance to make the Mid-Atlantic a center for the offshore wind industry. Photo: Maryland Energy Administration

Multistate Alliance to Make Bay Region Offshore Wind Energy Hub

Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina have teamed up to advance offshore wind projects in the Mid-Atlantic and to promote the region as a hub for offshore wind energy.

The three states’ governors announced the Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER) to streamline the development of regional offshore wind resources. The states say the fast-growing industry can drive economic deveopment, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emission and other harmful air pollutants. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that by 2030, offshore wind projects will support up to 86,000 jobs and $57 billion in investments.

An offshore wind project is already planned just off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, though it’s been met with strong opposition to the proximity and visibility of large turbines to the beach.

In Virginia, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project includes turbines 27 miles off Virginia Beach, and a Norfolk Harbor staging area already leased, as Bay Bulletin reported.

“Harnessing the power of offshore wind is key to meeting the urgency of the climate crisis and achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” says 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.”

The states say the bipartisan agreement combines the states’ economic power and will make the effort more cost-effective. The three states will work together to manufacture component parts and reduce costs through supply chain developments, among other commitments.

Visit governor.maryland.gov to read the full SMART-POWER agreement.

-Meg Walburn Viviano