By Curtis Roberts
When I find a Washington Post commentary like this recent piece by Brandi Colander, I feel compelled to applaud and spread the word. As an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Colander clearly lays out the reasoning for offshore wind in her support for the significant job creation, environmental benefits, and stabilized energy prices in Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposed Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act.
Offshore wind would put Marylanders to work in good jobs that can’t be sent overseas. Labor leaders have demonstrated early support of the bill, noting that it would not only create jobs at the facilities, but give Maryland the opportunity to become a hub for the supply chain of the industry. With the United States well positioned to become a competitive global leader in the field, we can start in Maryland’s waters and attract manufacturers of the many precision parts used in the assembly and construction of offshore wind farms to the state. With employment estimates at about one job created per megawatt and O’Malley’s plan exploring the development of a 400- to 600-megawatt wind farm, that could mean 400 to 600 upfront jobs for Marylanders, and thousands of jobs to support this industry over time.
Read more in Colander’s Washington Post commentary for the greenhouse gas-reduction environmental benefits and stabilized energy pricing.
Governor O’Malley’s Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act announcement details some of the energy benefits:
The bill would require that public utilities purchase between 400-600 megawatts (MW) of power from offshore wind generation facilities in federal waters off Maryland’s coastline for a period of twenty or more years. Five hundred MW of offshore wind energy is enough to power more than half of the homes in the City of Baltimore, or 79% of the homes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
This is all good news, and an important advancement in the offshore wind conversation. AREVA’s objective is to establish a major U.S. industrial footprint in offshore wind and build a facility to domestically source the 3,500 components for our advanced technology, 5-megawatt hybrid drive offshore wind turbines. Building from our offshore wind project experience and more than 800-megawatt manufacturing pipeline in Europe, we are positioned to be a major domestic supplier to the emerging U.S. offshore wind market. We’re looking forward to help tap the estimated 54 GW of wind power the Department of Energy says is flowing off our shores.
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