Pictured left to right: Mark Huang, Founder of Sea-Ahead; Matt Drew, Onshore Infrastructure Construction Manager, Orsted North America; Phil Croskey, Co-Founder and CEO of MD Energy Advisors; and Sam Salustro, Director of Coalitions and Strategic Partnerships, Business Network for Offshore Wind
With the State of Maryland committed to the construction of multiple offshore wind farms, energy experts participating in a recent seminar suggested more than 9,000 new jobs could be created by this long-term endeavor, energy transmission lurks as the biggest challenge and the success achieved in Europe should be modeled and copied. Insights on the future of the energy source as it relates to the Maryland area were provided by Phil Croskey, Co-Founder and CEO of MD Energy Advisors; Matt Drew, Onshore Infrastructure Construction Manager, Orsted North America and Sam Salustro, Director of Coalitions and Strategic Partnerships, Business Network for Offshore Wind, and Mark Huang, Founder of Sea-Ahead. The seminar was sponsored by BlueTech Maryland, a new consortium of companies, universities, and non-profits, and held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
“We are approaching a pivotal transition point concerning how the United States uses energy and rising demand is sparking increased pricing,” stated Croskey of MD Energy Advisors. “Business and consumers are exploring long-term alternative energy sources as driven by this pricing, combined with legislation that is stipulating the use of renewable energy. Offshore wind farms are emerging as a viable solution and, if Maryland gets it right, adding this source of energy to our existing grid will be a significant achievement for the State and its stakeholders.”
Matt Drew of Orsted explained that his company is working on building the Skipjack Wind offshore wind farm to serve Maryland and has 5 additional offshore wind projects in development on the east coast of the US. Orsted has already invested more than $13 million into port improvements at Tradepoint Atlantic (TPA) in Baltimore County, and will be developing a steel fabrication and assembly facility at TPA. Orsted has also recently announced a $70 million agreement with Crystal Steel Fabricators in Federalsburg, MD. This award is expected to create 50 new jobs, and Crystal will use the steel facility at TPA for final assembly and load out of the foundation components that it will manufacture for Orsted. Skipjack Wind will create more than $200 million in local economic impact and create approximately 1,400 Maryland jobs.
“A number of factors is contributing to the surge in offshore wind farms including states pushing for alternative energy sources, the Biden Administration opening up new areas for lease and widespread decarbonization goals,” stated Salustro of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “With global demand growing fast and the global supply chain unable to keep up, it’s clear we must work to localize the supply chain by bringing new businesses and ideas into the industry.”
“It is imperative for public sentiment to align with the goals of the State when it comes to constructing new offshore wind farms, and that starts with explaining the tremendous economic benefits possible with a large-scale effort,” Croskey added. “Not only will 9,000 jobs be created, but they will be high-paying one with salaries ranging from 70 to $100,000. This is for electricians, pipefitters, welders and other personnel needed to fabricate and install the equipment.
“Maryland has a unique economic opportunity to create jobs and opportunities, particularly among those who have been overlooked, and reverse some of the manufacturing erosion that has occurred over recent years. We are entering a transformative period and the development of offshore wind farms can be the stimulus for employee on ramps and workforce training that can make a significant difference for families and our economy. It is imperative to take full advantage of the possibilities,” Croskey added.