Offshore Wind Energy Expansion Could Mean Billions in New Income for Maryland Workers

The BlueGreen Alliance has released a new study on the economic impacts of growing offshore wind in Maryland.

March 8, 2019

Expanding offshore wind energy in Maryland would create $3.6 billion in new economic activity in Maryland and support more than 25,000 local jobs if the General Assembly and Hogan administration enact the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 (House Bill 1158). That is one finding in a new report commissioned by the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations. Read the full report at www.bluegreenalliance.org/mdoffshorewind.

“Offshore wind energy has enormous potential to bolster good-paying union jobs in addition to delivering clean, affordable electricity,” said Mike Williams, Deputy Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “This report underscores that Maryland’s early leadership in offshore wind energy development was wise and deserves even stronger investment in the future. It is essential that the Maryland General Assembly and Hogan administration stand with workers by enacting the Clean Energy Jobs Act in the 2019 legislative session.”

The report, conducted for the Alliance by Sage Policy Group in Baltimore, found that expanding Maryland’s goals for offshore wind would yield broad economic benefits from Ocean City to central Maryland.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act proposes to increase the amount of offshore wind energy generated in Maryland to 1,568 megawatts from the current 368 megawatts by 2030.

Study Findings:

  • Construction associated with developing 1,200 megawatts of offshore wind energy in Maryland will support an estimated 25,000 jobs (where a job is defined as one position lasting for one year), $1.5 billion in associated labor and proprietor income, and $3.6 billion in economic activity.
  • Once construction of the additional 1,200 megawatts authorized is complete, operation and maintenance of the facilities will support approximately 1,500 jobs and more than $100 million in labor income annually. State and local tax revenues will be enhanced by nearly $23 million and $13 million annually, respectively, according to the study.
  • Jobs supported by offshore wind projects typically include skilled positions in manufacturing, construction, installation, operations, and maintenance. The BlueGreen Alliance study finds that the average annual income per worker approaches $60,000 during construction and $70,000 during operations.

Maryland enacted legislation in 2013 authorizing construction of 358 megawatts of offshore wind energy. As a result, two separate offshore wind projects are currently under development by Ørsted US Offshore Wind and US Wind, respectively. The BlueGreen Alliance study finds that construction of those projects will support approximately 7,100 jobs, $421.7 million in associated labor income, and almost $1 billion in economic activity statewide. Once operational, those projects will support nearly 360 ongoing annual jobs associated with $25 million in income per annum.

“It is critical that we ensure the jobs created from investments in offshore wind are good-paying union jobs,” said Williams. “To realize the full benefits of the investment in offshore wind in the Maryland economy, measures like project labor and community benefits agreements, prevailing wage, and domestic sourcing must be included in the industry buildout.”

 

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