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NC Part of Alliance to Spur Wind Energy

An offshore wind farm. Photo: File

Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia governors are working together to promote offshore wind projects.

The governors announced Thursday the creation of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources, or SMART-POWER, to promote the region as a hub for offshore wind energy and industry.

The partnership’s leadership team will have representatives from each signatory jurisdiction that will work to streamline the development of regional offshore wind resources.

“Offshore wind development combined with our strong solar capacity will bring more high paying, clean energy jobs to North Carolina while we continue to ramp up our fight against climate change,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. “This bipartisan agreement with neighboring states allows us to leverage our combined economic power and ideas to achieve cost effective success.”

Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia have access to deepwater ports and transportation infrastructure, universities and research institutions and workforces to support the offshore wind industry and supply chain efficiently develop along the Atlantic Coast, officials said.

“Maryland has been leading the charge when it comes to real, bipartisan, common sense solutions and we are proud to continue setting an example for the nation of bold environmental leadership,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. “Joining this multi-state partnership to expand offshore wind development will further our strong record of supporting responsible energy projects that provide jobs, clean air benefits, and energy independence.”

The three states have committed to working together to increase regulatory certainty, encourage manufacturing of component parts, reduce project costs through supply chain development, share information and best practices and promote synergy between industry and the signatory jurisdictions, the release states, according to officials.

“Harnessing the power of offshore wind is key to meeting the urgency of the climate crisis and achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. “Virginia is well-positioned to scale up offshore wind development with a 12-megawatt wind demonstration project already built off our coast. This agreement will help unlock our collective offshore wind resources and generate tremendous economic and environmental benefits for the region. We look forward to working with our partners in Maryland and North Carolina to grow the offshore wind industry and secure a cleaner, healthier, and more resilient future.”

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the Atlantic Coast offshore wind project pipeline will support up to 86,000 jobs, $57 billion in investments and provide up to $25 billion in economic output by 2030, the release states.

“The bipartisan leadership shown by Governors Cooper, Northam and Hogan underscores a burgeoning consensus for commonsense climate policy and the realization that environmental protection and economic development go hand-in-hand. These governors are leading their states in realizing the economic potential inherent in the transition to a more modern, cleaner and healthier energy system,” said David Kelly, Senior Manager of North Carolina Political Affairs for Environmental Defense Fund.

The full SMART-POWER memorandum of understanding is available here.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.