Four offshore wind power projects in two East Coast states won the backing of government officials Friday, as the region increasingly eyes offshore turbines as a source of clean energy.
Maryland regulators approved credits to two developers, Orsted AS and US Wind, each proposing to install enough turbines to generate more than 800 megawatts of electricity. Massachusetts picked Avangrid Inc. and a joint venture of Shell New Energies US and OW North America to develop offshore wind farms that, combined, will produce 1,632 megawatts of electricity.
The decisions, landing on the same day, marked a milestone in the development of a clean power source that has been extensively deployed in Europe but is still new in the U.S. Offshore wind turbines are seen as one of the best ways to supply renewable power to the densely populated Northeast, where coastal communities lack the open land needed for large solar arrays or onshore wind turbines.
President Joe Biden has set a goal of installing 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines by 2030, and several coastal states are vying to become manufacturing and installation hubs for the new industry.
Maryland officials, for example, will require Orsted and US Wind to create a minimum of 10,324 direct jobs and use port facilities in the Baltimore and Ocean City areas. Avangrid’s Massachusetts project, meanwhile, will include a manufacturing facility on the state’s southern seashore and an offshore wind port in Salem Harbor, north of Boston.
“This is more than just one project, it is part of an effort to build a clean energy infrastructure including the transformation of ports around our state,” said Bill White, Chief Executive Officer of Avangrid Renewables Offshore.