Offshore wind developer US Wind has submitted a bid for a new 1,200 MW offshore wind farm, slated for construction adjacent to the company's $77 million MarWin project, which is already set for construction off the coast of Maryland.
If the new project is approved, US Wind has proposed to build a new steel fabrication facility to supply both Maryland projects, according to a Tuesday announcement. US Wind has also entered an agreement with Tradepoint Atlantic to build a 90-acre offshore wind deployment port, which Jeff Grybowski, US Wind CEO, said will be built regardless of whether the second wind farm is approved.
Both the approximately 270 MW MarWin project, and the new larger Momentum Wind project, correspond with Maryland's pre-existing plans to deploy offshore wind, according to Grybowski. However, the Business Network for Offshore Wind expects a maturation of offshore wind supply chains — as signaled by the US Wind port project — to accelerate deployment across the nation.
After years of waiting, offshore wind developers in the U.S. see potential opportunity in the industry's rapid maturation — so long as the federal permitting process doesn't throw their queue of projects off track.
Per Tuesday's announcement, US Wind's proposed 1,200 MW Momentum Wind farm would, if approved, come with its own steel fabrication facility proposed for Baltimore County. The original MarWin project, which has already been approved, will be paired with the construction of what the company calls an offshore wind deployment hub — one that won't be dedicated solely to US Wind's projects.
"I think we foresee both [the port and the steel facility] being very useful for other projects," Grybowski said. "Building the supply chain is an important part of this growing industry, and ...early movers I think will have a real opportunity in this space to participate in many, many projects as they advance."
Neither the supply-side projects nor the newly proposed Momentum Wind were unexpected developments, Grybowski said. US Wind always knew it would need a port to complete the MarWin project, and Momentum, he said, was a response to a request for bids issued by the state of Maryland as it continues to procure renewable energy. But nationwide, Grybowski said, offshore wind is picking up steam as the industry begins to mature.
While 1,200 MW is no small number, Sam Salustro, director of Maryland coalitions and strategic partnerships at the nonprofit Business Network for Offshore Wind, said Tuesday's announcement was also significant for its inclusion of the proposed port and fabrication facility.
"We really need a domestication of the global supply chain," Salustro said. "There is intense global competition, and in order to ensure we sustain development that will create jobs and grow economies here, we need to make sure we are localizing our supply chain."
The US Wind announcement, Salustro said, demonstrates the industry is capable of achieving this goal by potentially supporting more than 600 permanent jobs in Maryland and increasing the state's GDP by $6.9 billion in the first 20 years.
A localized supply chain, coupled with supportive state and federal policy, will accelerate development of existing offshore wind projects and encourage budding activity off the California coast and Gulf Coast, Salustro said.
US Wind, founded in 2011 and majority-owned by Italian development company Renexia SpA, has a lot of work to carry out after today's announcement, and Grybowski doesn't anticipate pursuing additional projects for the time being. He said the MarWin turbines are expected to come online from late 2024 through 2025, and anticipated a 2024 groundbreaking for the Momentum project if the wind farm is approved by the state later this year.