According to an announcement by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, the state has cleared an important hurdle in getting federal approval for offshore wind power generation off its coast. Maryland follows Delaware as the only states to have planning recommendations accepted by the federal government.
In conjunction with the Maryland Energy Administration and the Maryland Offshore Task Force, Gov. O’Malley said a Request for Information (RFI) and a map of an offshore wind leasing area in federal waters was accepted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). Nearly two years were spent to develop a comprehensive plan that incorporated environmental and stakeholder concerns that would be impacted by the development of offshore wind, officials said.
Gov. O’Malley believes the proposed project would create thousands of green collar jobs, reduce pollution and bring additional clean energy to Maryland. The governor says that a one gigawatt offshore wind farm off of the coast of Maryland could create as many as 4,000 jobs during the five-year development period, with an additional 800 permanent jobs to maintain the turbines. Offshore wind also figures prominently in the state’s efforts to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022.
“Today’s announcement marks another step forward for Maryland’s new economy,” Gov. O’Malley said in a statement.
This announcement follows Maryland’s entry into a formal partnership with the Atlantic Offshore Wind Consortium – a group comprised of ten states along the Atlantic coastline and the US Department of Interior – to coordinate regional plans for the development of offshore wind.