March 7th Maritime Institute Conference Center, Linthicum Heights, Maryland
By Ross Tyler, Business Network for Offshore Wind
The Business Network for Offshore Wind convened a ‘share day’ between industry and Maryland’s contending offshore wind developers: Deepwater Wind and US Wind. The half-day event commenced with a “members’ only” meet-and-greet with Deepwater Wind executive Chris Van Beek. Each of the members was able to share their corporate profile and to ask poignant questions of the company’s plans for using Maryland based companies and its vision for how U.S. offshore wind sector is likely to ramp-up in the coming years. The members provided Deep Water Wind with a rapid and comprehensive insight into the rich variety and full spectrum of corporate capabilities and competencies that are available for mid-Atlantic offshore wind deployment.
The breakfast networking session filled the conference room with a total 150 attendees comprised of guests and other stakeholders who were invited to participate. Liz Burdock, Executive Director of the Network, formally opened the second part of the event and stressed the importance of the fast approaching May 17th, 2017 deadline for the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC is expected to announce which of the two developers will be awarded the Offshore Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) – a mechanism crowning Maryland as the most advanced state policy in the nation – that provides financial assurance to enable the developers to secure third party project financing. Ross Tyler, also representing the Network, followed by providing a summary of a new report, commissioned by the Baltimore Propeller Club. The joint report compiled by the Network and BVG Associates in the UK, focuses on the global trends in which different industry sectors are diversifying their market targets to include offshore wind. There are strong parallel skill sets for different phases of the offshore wind sector that can be found beyond oil and gas but also within: aerospace and defense; automotive; composites; nuclear; dredging; rail; and other renewable energy sectors such as onshore wind. The Maryland Department of Commerce has provided a list of over 80 in-state aerospace & defense companies, many of which could provide a local resource for the offshore wind developers.
Chris Van Beek from Deepwater Wind, presented detailed insights into each of the steps the company took during the permitting, constructing, and commissioning of the Block Island Wind Farm project. Clint Plummer from Deepwater Wind went on to share the plans to develop the mid-Atlantic with staggered increments to match demand and business rate payers’ appetite. Paul Rich from US Wind underscored a fundamentally different approach with a more accelerated goal for scale to attract and to anchor original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as JDR cables from the UK, and possibly Heavy Metal Fabricators from Rhode Island. Sam Berne from the Maryland Energy Administration concluded the formal part of the program by providing a history of the OREC; an overview of the process; and assistance programs for small businesses, minority-owned businesses and the specific industry skill needs. The morning concluded with a question and answer session, extensive networking, and a reminder for businesses wanting to have the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind industry started in Maryland, that they (and other interested individuals) should make their voices heard at the PSC public hearings:
Saturday, March 25th, 2017 Beginning at 12:00 Noon
Stephen Decatur Middle School Cafeteria
9815 Seahawk Road Berlin, Maryland 21811T
Thursday, March 30th, 2017 Beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Joint Committee Hearing Room Legislative Services Building 90 State Circle
Annapolis, Maryland 21401