Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina Sign Offshore Wind Pact

virginia offshore wind
Installation in progress at Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project (Dominion / Orsted)

Published Oct 29, 2020 5:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

The governors of Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia have announced a bipartisan plan to cooperate on offshore wind power projects off the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. In particular, their new "SMART-POWER" plan will create a leadership team from all three states that will work to expedite 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.”

Together, the three states have already committed to purchasing power from wind generation totaling about seven gigawatts - roughly the output of two nuclear power plants when running at full capacity. They foresee large-scale potential for further development, as the Department of Energy predicts that the offshore wind market on the Atlantic coast will see about $57 billion in investment over the course of the next 10 years.

The areas of cooperation will include increasing regulatory certainty, encouraging local manufacturing of component parts, reducing 
project costs through supply chain development, sharing information and best practices, and promoting closer ties between industry and regional governments. The plan calls for aligning and streamlining state-level regulatory requirements in order to facilitate easier project development. It would also see the three states coordinate on their interaction with federal government agencies and regulators, who have a critical role in evaluating and permitting offshore wind projects. The agreement is open to any other regional states that would like to cooperate on offshore wind development. 

The American Wind Energy Association, the main industry group for wind developers, welcomed the move in a statement Thursday. 

"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 more forward more efficiently to develop their infrastructure and local supply chains to unleash this brand-new American energy industry,” said Laura Morton, AWEA's Senior Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs for Offshore Wind.