Virginia, North Carolina part of 3 state collaboration to advance offshore wind projects, economic development

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The governors of Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland announced a three-state collaboration to advance offshore wind projects and economic development throughout the states.

Additionally, the partnership will promote the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic areas as “a hub for offshore wind energy and industry,” officials said in a joint statement released by the governor’s offices Thursday.

The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER) initiative will provide a foundation and guidance for the three states to “cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce.”

The states will also form a group called the SMART-POWER Leadership Team that will have representatives from each jurisdiction who will work together to streamline the development of regional offshore wind resources.

“Harnessing the power of offshore wind is key to meeting the urgency of the climate crisis and achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Virginia is well-positioned to scale up offshore wind development with a 12-megawatt wind demonstration project already built off our coast,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

“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,” Northam continued.

According to the Department of Energy, by 2030, the Atlantic Coast offshore wind project pipeline is estimated to support up to 86,000 jobs, $57 billion in investments, and provide up to $25 billion in economic output.

The initiative is in response to the recent focus on the global offshore wind industry in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The three recognize that the “fast-growing, global offshore wind industry has significant potential to drive economic development and job creation as well as reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants.”

During the partnership, the three states will work together to increase regulatory certainty, encourage the 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, according to the statement released.

“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 Governor Roy Cooper. “This bipartisan agreement with neighboring states allows us to leverage our combined economic power and ideas to achieve cost-effective success.”

The full SMART-POWER memorandum of understanding is available here

Click here to read the full release.

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