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BOEM, Maryland Seek to Bolster Offshore Wind Development with MOU


The state will need more space for offshore wind development to meet its long-range decarbonizaton goals, an industry group spokesperson said.

Dive Brief:

  • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the state of Maryland entered into a memorandum of understanding on Friday to work together to identify potential areas for offshore wind leases and address challenges to siting them.
  • Maryland aims to deploy 8.5 GW of offshore wind by 2031, but doing so would require BOEM to open additional coastal waters to offshore wind development, according to Sam Salustro, a spokesperson for the Oceantic Network, an offshore wind industry group.
  • Other actions taken last week, such as BOEM finalizing an environmental assessment for new leases planned off the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia coasts, will create opportunities for offshore wind development much sooner, Salustro said, but the MOU represents a longer-term vision.

Dive Insight:

The MOU between BOEM and Maryland is a sign that U.S. states remain committed to the long-term future of offshore wind despite some of the difficulties of recent years, Salustro said.

Maryland’s 8.5 GW offshore wind goal, created by the state’s Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources Act of 2023, represents one of the most ambitious state-level offshore wind goals, Salustro said. It’s also a key component of the state’s plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

“Maryland will play an important role in helping achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious renewable energy goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Today’s announcement represents another important step towards a clean, reliable energy future with good-paying jobs and economic opportunities that are accessible to communities across America.”

Without access to additional coastal waters beyond what has already been leased or announced, Maryland won’t be able to hit either of these targets. Friday’s MOU, Salustro said, signals the intent of Maryland and BOEM to work together to overcome barriers to additional development near the Maryland coast.

BOEM has identified additional areas for prospective leases, Salustro said, but stakeholders in those regions have lodged objections to the agency’s plans for offshore wind development in some of those areas.

Salustro said the MOU serves as an important signal to the market that Maryland and BOEM are committed to their goals for long-term offshore wind development. Offshore wind developers need that kind of transparency to plan projects slated for 2030 and beyond while minimizing the risk that these future projects will encounter some of the same inflationary pressures that jeopardized and delayed the industry’s first round of development in the United States, he said.