Don’t look now, but Maryland is making big moves in offshore wind energy sector

Gov. Phil Murphy and offshore wind advocates have long said New Jersey’s willingness to go all-in on the sector will put it ahead of other states on the East Coast — a fact that could help the state earn untold millions in enterprises related to the industry.

That head start is starting to lose its advantage.

Last week, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed the POWER Act into law, which raises Maryland’s offshore wind goal from 2.022 gigawatts to 8.5 GW of offshore wind generation by 2031.

The increase puts the state in line with other East Coast states that have increased their offshore wind goals, including New Jersey and New York.

In addition to raising the state’s overall offshore wind goal, the law requires a new transmission study to guide how the state incorporates the new power into its energy grid, and requires a solicitation for a planned transmission buildout.

On Friday, Moore traveled to Maryland’s biggest industrial development (the massive Tradepoint Atlantic development in Baltimore County) to break ground on a new construction facility for the offshore wind energy industry.

“Maryland steel led the American economy in the 20th century, and I want Maryland wind to lead the American economy in the 21st century,” Moore said.

Liz Burdock, founder and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, said the actions are signficant.

“Maryland reinsert(ed) itself into the offshore wind conversation,” she said. “A decade ago, Maryland sat at the forefront of the U.S. offshore wind industry with passage of groundbreaking legislation, but the ensuing years have seen neighboring states pull ahead with bolder commitments and energy.

“The POWER Act repositions Maryland back into a leadership position and, with the federal government opening up new lease areas next year, offers the state a rare opportunity to attract major manufacturing and supply chain investment. Maryland must capitalize on this opportunity by moving quickly from legislation to execution and commercialization.”