ANNAPOLIS — The governors of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina have forged a new pact aimed at bringing offshore windmills and wind energy projects to the Mid-Atlantic region including the Delmarva Peninsula.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday, Oct. 29, that the three states have created the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER).
The alliance aims to streamline approvals for the development of offshore windmills and wind energy projects and make the region into a hub for the renewable energy sector.
There are an estimated $57 billion in potential windmill projects that could create as many as 86,000 along the Atlantic Coast, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
“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 Hogan in a statement. “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.”
Hogan, a Republican, inked the regional pact with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, both Democrats.
Northam said wind energy will also help address climate change.
“Harnessing the power of offshore wind is key to meeting the urgency of the climate crisis and achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” Northam said in a statement. “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.”
There are already offshore windmill projects in the development pipeline off the coast of Ocean City.
Windmills do have their critics and skeptics — ranging from President Donald Trump to others who worry about their impacts on aesthetics, birds and in the case of offshore projects marine life.