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February 02, 2023

Congressional delegation urges BOEM to beef up Central Atlantic offshore wind plan

Credit: Riviera

“US Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Jamie Raskin, Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, David Trone, and Glenn Ivey (all D-Md) have written to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), US Navy, US Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlining the importance of increasing the acreage in BOEM’s Draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Central Atlantic. They state that doing so will help Maryland achieve climate and clean energy goals, create jobs and boost the region’s economy.

The lawmakers pointed to the “bold climate action” Maryland has taken, noting the federal government’s partnership is essential to making continued progress.

In the letter they said, “Maryland has some of the most aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in the US, which would reduce emissions by 60% (over 2006 level) by 2031 and reach net-zero emissions by 2045.

“The state has been able to set ambitious goals and will need support from federal partners to deliver on these promises. We urge each agency to find ways to maximise offshore wind leases off the coast of Maryland to ensure we can meet our state and national decarbonisation goals.”

They also highlighted significant investments secured for workforce and supply chain readiness for offshore wind. “Maryland offshore wind developers, US Wind and Ørsted, have committed a combined US$340M to new manufacturing facilities to support projects off the coast of Maryland.

“These projects will power over 640,000 Maryland homes, expand STEM education programmes, develop a zero-emissions offshore wind operations and maintenance port facility and create a minimum of 10,000 jobs during the development, construction and operating phases of the projects.

“The state has garnered national support for its budding offshore wind industry, and last August, the Maryland Department of Labor, in partnership with the developers and several labour unions, received over US$20M from the Department of Commerce to implement an apprenticeship programme and address exploding demand in the sector. Maryland will train thousands of workers to meet incredible demand from renewable energy-related enterprises,” the lawmakers wrote.

They concluded by urging the federal agencies to work together to make available as much leasing area as possible in the Central Atlantic for offshore wind. “Co-operation and flexibility to maximise offshore wind lease areas in the Central Atlantic could unlock more than 10,000 additional MW of clean energy for our region and tens of thousands of new jobs.

“It is essential to work together to achieve our offshore wind and climate goals while still preserving your respective Services’ and agencies’ mission-critical activities, and we stand ready to assist you in this task.”