Ørsted and Maryland partner for a sustainable future
By David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America
It is a privilege to join the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in celebrating Maryland’s environmental changemakers. As CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America, the global offshore wind leader, I have been inspired by how the State of Maryland and Maryland LCV make change a reality in the fight to stop climate change. By supporting ambitious renewable energy policies like offshore wind, you put Maryland on the map as a decisive leader in the fight for a sustainable energy future.
As the developer of Skipjack Wind 1 in Maryland, one of the first awarded Offshore Wind Projects in Maryland, Ørsted feels a special responsibility to help Maryland reach its goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. We developed the world’s first offshore wind farm 30 years ago, supply green power to 15 million people, and create true value for local communities everywhere we work – one turbine rotation at a time. We own and operate America’s first offshore farm in Rhode Island and, in 2020, installed the first-ever offshore wind turbines in federal waters off the coast of Virginia. We are pioneers in this space, and want to help Maryland lead, as well.
Science tells us we must address global warming soon to avoid irreversible consequences, and net human carbon emissions must reach zero by 2050.
Combating climate change lies at the core of Ørsted’s mission. We have undertaken an historic transformation in our business model from a highly intensive user of fossil fuels to an almost 100% renewable energy company. And we are on track to be a carbon neutral company by 2025.
This makes us uniquely suited to partner with Maryland. To help the state reach its clean energy goals, Ørsted is developing Skipjack Wind 1, a 120 megawatt wind farm 20 miles off the Maryland coast. Skipjack Wind 1 will power 40,000 homes in the region, create nearly 1,400 jobs for Maryland workers, and generate more than $200 million in local economic investment.
Ørsted builds, owns, and operates its wind farms for their full life cycle, and has for 30 years. So, the commitments we make to Maryland and its citizens are for the long term.
For instance, we broke ground in 2019 on Maryland’s first offshore wind staging center at Tradepoint Atlantic, making the former steel manufacturing site a hub for 21st century renewable energy growth. Local small businesses performed critical welding work at the site, and historically underemployed East Baltimore residents learned new trade skills they can utilize for decades to come. We have plans for much more local economic development, which we will announce soon.
In addition to Skipjack Wind 1, Ørsted recently proposed a new project – Skipjack Wind 2 – which will power 250,000 homes in the Delmarva region. This ambitious project will bring sustainable jobs and economic impact to the Baltimore region with the establishment of an advanced sub-sea array cable manufacturing facility at Tradepoint Atlantic. As the first of its kind in the U.S., this facility will not only serve a majority of our large 4 gigawatt portfolio of projects, but also the broader—and rapidly developing—American offshore wind industry. All told, our two projects would generate a $625 million investment in Maryland and accelerate Maryland’s progress towards its climate goals.
Ørsted is committed to the communities in which we operate. Everyone, especially underserved communities, should have access to the incredible promise of this new American industry. As part of Skipjack Wind 2, we will invest $10 million in Maryland’s STEM education programs so that local students can compete for offshore wind jobs. Our agreement with the Baltimore – D.C. Metro Building and Construction Trades Council ensures organized labor is part of our plans for onshore and offshore construction. We will build the nation’s first carbon neutral Operations and Maintenance (O&M) facility in Maryland, creating a model for our industry and long-term local Eastern Shore jobs.
Helping Maryland reach its renewable energy goals is an obligation we take seriously. Stopping climate change will not be easy, but that should not stop businesses, NGOs, and governments from taking decisive action now to secure a sustainable future.
That’s what changemaking is all about. We are proud to partner with Maryland and the changemakers at Maryland LCV to create more clean energy and thousands of green jobs for Maryland residents – one rotation at a time.
David Hardy is CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America, developer of Skipjack Wind 1 and Skipjack Wind 2 in Maryland.