New report: Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina could power entire region with electricity from offshore wind

For Immediate Release

BALTIMORE - A new report shows that Atlantic states could power the entire region with clean wind energy off our coasts. A new report released Thursday by partner organizations Environment Maryland, Environment North Carolina, and Environment Virginia Research & Policy Centers and the Frontier Group. The report, Offshore Wind for America, examines U.S. offshore wind potential by both coastal region and by state, while documenting the status of existing projects and technological advances. Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia could provide 283% of 2019 electricity usage and 137% of 2050 projections with offshore wind alone. For projections of 2050 electricity demand, the report assumes that U.S. buildings, industry and transportation will all be powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels by mid-century.

In October of 2019, the governors of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia announced a three-state collaboration to advance offshore wind projects in the region and promote the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic United States as a hub for offshore wind energy and industry. The creation of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER) provides a framework for the three states to cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce. 

Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia ranks 17th, 8th, and 15th respectively, among 29 coastal states for their potential to meet its 2019 electricity usage with offshore wind in a new report released Thursday by Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. The report, Offshore Wind for America, examines U.S. offshore wind potential by both coastal region and by state, while documenting the status of existing projects and technological advances. Maryland could provide 159% of 2019 electricity usage and 62% of 2050 full electrification projections with offshore wind alone. For projections of 2050 electricity demand, the report assumes that U.S. buildings, industry and transportation will all be powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels by mid-century.

“When it comes to transitioning Maryland to 100 percent renewable energy, offshore wind holds the keys to the castle. It’s clean, reliable, and overwhelmingly abundant. Maryland has some of the greatest offshore wind potential in the country, and by taking advantage of it we can solidify our place as a leader in clean, renewable energy.” said Mariah MacKenzie, Campaign Associate with Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center. “We have an opportunity to provide Marylanders with renewable, reliable energy to power their homes.”

“Development of our offshore wind industry is critical to achieving a clean energy grid and will create tens of thousands of well-paying U.S. jobs in the process,” said Sam Salustro, Director of Coalitions and Strategic Partnerships at the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “To fully harness the economic and environmental benefits offshore wind offers, the U.S. must work to develop the local supply chain and support continued collaboration between states and regions.”

In addition to highlighting states that stand to provide the most offshore wind power relative to their electricity usage, the report also highlights how the success and growth of offshore wind globally in Europe and Asia has supported the continued advancements of offshore wind technologies. Turbine power and efficiency continue to improve, while the introduction of floating turbines will be crucial for expanding offshore wind potential in states with especially deep coastal water, such as Maine and California.

“Offshore Wind for America reminds us that offshore wind can and will rise to the occasion of meeting our energy needs right here in Maryland” MacKenzie said. “This incredible resource is still largely untapped, but we have the chance to take advantage of it and build a resilient green future for Marylanders. Now is the time to go big on offshore wind.”

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Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.environmentmarylandcenter.org