Maryland Governor Enacts Offshore Wind Bill, Announces Foundation Component Centre with Ørsted
Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed the state’s Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources Act (the POWER Act) into law on 21 April, thus codifying Maryland’s new 8.5 GW offshore wind target for 2031. The Governor signed the POWER Act at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore County, where he also announced the state’s first offshore wind advanced foundation component centre together with Ørsted.
The Maryland General Assembly passed the bill earlier this month. The POWER Act sets the state on the path towards having 8.5 GW of offshore wind capacity in its energy mix by 2031, quadrupling Maryland’s offshore wind energy goal.
The Act also establishes an approach to building offshore wind transmission infrastructure similar to that which New Jersey is employing and outlines requirements for job creation and utilising the local supply chain.
At the Tradepoint Atlantic foundation centre, Riggs Distler, a union construction solutions firm, will serve as Ørsted’s general contractor and construct and assemble advanced foundation components to be used on wind turbines, such as boat landings, ladders, internal and exterior platforms, railings, grating, and other items for the developer’s offshore wind projects.
The 40-acre centre creates 125 union construction jobs and 20 professional staff jobs, Ørsted says.
The Tradepoint Atlantic foundation centre is part of Ørsted’s Shore-to-Shore supply chain in Maryland, the developer highlighted. Many of the components produced at Tradepoint Atlantic will first be prefabricated at Crystal Steel Fabricators in Federalsburg on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Ørsted and Crystal Steel entered into a supply agreement in 2021.
Also in 2021, Ørsted and Tradepoint Atlantic completed the initial phase of the first offshore wind staging centre.
The work completed in 2021 included USD 13.2 million in port infrastructure upgrades, establishing both a lift-on/lift-off and roll-on/roll-off berth within Tradepoint Atlantic’s port facility for handling offshore wind components such as wind turbine blades, foundations, nacelles, and towers.
Ørsted will utilise the components built at the new foundation centre to help construct projects in its US portfolio, including Skipjack Wind, the 966 MW wind farm off the Maryland coast.
Maryland currently has four projects with a total capacity of approximately 2 GW approved.
In 2017, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) awarded offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) to US Wind’s and Ørsted’s 248 MW MarWin and 120 MW Skipjack 1 projects. In 2021, the two developers won ORECs for their 808.5 MW Momentum Wind (US Wind) and 846 MW Skipjack Wind 2 (Ørsted) offshore wind farms.
Last year, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) initiated the federal permitting process for the projects at US Wind’s offshore wind lease area.
In 2021, US Wind also entered into an agreement with Tradepoint Atlantic to develop 90 waterfront acres into a new offshore wind deployment hub, where the company will initially invest via the MarWin project, and proposed a new steel fabrication facility at the Tradepoint Atlantic site – Sparrows Point Steel – to be built in conjunction with Momentum Wind.
Last month, US Wind partnered with the Spanish manufacturer of offshore wind monopiles and towers, Haizea Wind Group, to manage and operate Sparrows Point Steel, and said this was the state’s first permanent offshore wind factory.