Maryland has taken a major step forward in its renewable energy goals with the passing of the Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources Act, also known as the POWER Act. The bill passed with bipartisan support and aims to strengthen labor standards for offshore wind manufacturing, installation, and maintenance, generating good-paying union jobs. It also sets a target of 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2031, more than quadrupling Maryland’s current 2 gigawatts, and facilitates shared transmission infrastructure to reduce costs and environmental impacts.
According to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), the legislation is supported by labor unions, business associations, civil rights organizations, climate groups, and consumer advocates. Developers involved have also committed to including small, minority, woman, and veteran-owned businesses during project development, creating positive economic activity.
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) predicts Maryland’s total offshore wind market can “provide enough electricity to power about 600,000 average homes.”
Steel and iron workers are optimistic about the possible revival of union jobs. “The POWER Act will bring good union jobs to Maryland, lower energy costs, and reduce pollution,” added Jamie DeMarco, Maryland director at the CCAN Action Fund. “Thanks to the bill sponsors, President Ferguson, and Speaker Jones, Maryland is a leader in addressing the climate crisis.”
Current estimates by MEA indicate that offshore wind projects will create more than 12,000 direct full-time equivalent jobs during the development and construction phase. And an additional 3,000 direct FTE jobs during the 20-30 year operations and maintenance phase. Offshore wind resources will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change while creating positive economic activity.
Location in Sparrow’s Point
US Wind, an offshore wind developer in Maryland, plans to develop an offshore wind manufacturing facility at Tradepoint Atlantic in Sparrows Point, and the POWER Act’s passing sends a signal to the entire offshore wind industry globally that Maryland is back as a major player. It also sets a path for the people of Maryland to reap the benefits of huge amounts of clean energy in the coming years.
“The POWER Act is a real game changer for Maryland,” US Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said. “It sets a path for the people of Maryland to reap the benefits of huge amounts of clean energy in the coming years. It also tells the entire offshore wind industry globally that Maryland is back big time as a major player. Companies looking to invest in offshore wind have to seriously consider Maryland.”