US Wind’s director of project development said the Maryland offshore windfarm could create up to 7,000 jobs, when he testified before the Senate Finance Committee of the Maryland State Senate earlier this month.
Paul Rich detailed progress of the offshore wind project that was initiated following the passage of the Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 by the Maryland General Assembly. US Wind’s project was approved to receive offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) in May 2017.
The project, involving 32 wind turbines 17 miles from Ocean City, will generate approximately 268 MW of clean energy.
During the hearing, chaired by finance chair senator Thomas Middleton, Mr Rich detailed several recent advances in its progress toward creating the windfarm which, he said, will result in the creation of nearly 3,000 skilled jobs during the development and construction phase and an additional 4,100 jobs during the 20-year operating period.
US Wind recently signed a letter of intent with Salisbury-based Devreco to establish and operate US Wind’s operation and maintenance facility at Ocean City and its laydown and handling facility at Tradepoint Atlantic (TPA) in Baltimore. The O&M facility will eventually provide support services for the offshore windfarm.
“This is a significant and tangible step toward realising the bold vision of the Maryland General Assembly to create a vibrant wind energy sector in Maryland which will deliver substantial economic development and job creation for years to come,” said US Wind president and chief executive Riccardo Toto.
Mr Rich also announced the creation of an Offshore Wind Industry Workforce Development Coalition that will bring the offshore wind companies together with representatives of community colleges, universities, labour unions, minority and local small businesses to create a skilled workforce to support an offshore wind industry.
Concluding his testimony, Mr Rich noted that US Wind is continuing to evaluate emerging turbine technology in an effort to reduce the number of turbine units.
He said recent innovations in turbine technology would allow US Wind to consider using turbines that are 8.4 MW in size. This would result in fewer turbines being needed while complying with the Public Service Commission order.