In the renewable energy transformation, offshore wind is catching on, and states with abundant resource potential—including Maryland—are investing in new infrastructure.
In April 2023, Gov. Wes Moore signed the Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources (POWER) Act. Building on previous legislation, it established a new goal of 8.5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by the year 2031.
Four projects are underway, having been approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission. Together, they will add over 2,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity to the state, which is enough to power nearly 600,000 homes.
Situated 18 miles off the Maryland coast, the MarWin offshore wind project will generate 248 MW of total energy and is expected to be completed in 2024.
A little closer to shore, the Momentum Wind project is located 15 miles off the Maryland coast. It will generate 808.5 MW of total energy and is expected to be completed in 2026.
The Skipjack 1 offshore wind project is located 20 miles off the coastline. It will generate 120 MW of total energy and is projected to be operational in 2026.
The largest of the four, also located 20 miles off the Maryland coast, the Skipjack 2 offshore wind project will generate 846 MW of total energy. It will be built immediately following Skipjack 1 and will also be operational in 2026.
Of note, small and minority-owned businesses (MBEs) are playing a major role in the development of the state’s offshore wind industry. In an article published in the online magazine Renewable Energy World, Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson noted that they have “played critical roles across all stages.”
He mentioned three MBEs in particular that are playing a significant role. Crystal Steel Fabricators Inc., a Federalsburg, Md.-based MBE, is building 98 boat landings, each weighing 17 tons and stretching 70 feet long for Orsted’s Ocean Wind 1 project.
Strum Contracting Co. Inc., Baltimore, is a leading black- and woman-owned heavy civil infrastructure contractor that has been a proactive advocate, championing offshore wind through legislation and leveraging funding from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Small Business Program.
Situated on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the women-owned certified MBE, Arcon Training Center, Salisbury, Md., has distinguished itself by offering Global Wind Organization safety training courses for the industry.
The state is also investing in workforce development. The Maryland Energy Administration offers a series of grant programs intended to help establish a pathway for businesses and individuals entering the industry.
The Maryland Offshore Wind Supply Chain Investment Program provides grant funding on a noncompetitive basis to support new or existing businesses entering the offshore wind supply chain in Maryland.
The Maryland Offshore Wind Workforce Training and Education Program provides grant funding on a competitive basis to support new or existing workforce training centers and academic institutions to expand their capabilities to support the state’s offshore wind workforce training and education efforts.