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Growing offshore wind industry in Maryland, and US, looking to hire

Eric Neugeboren//June 21, 2021

Growing offshore wind industry in Maryland, and US, looking to hire

By Eric Neugeboren

//June 21, 2021

Three of Deepwater Wind's turbines stand in the water off Block Island, Rhode Island. Though this is only one of two operational U.S. wind farms in 2021, members of the wind power industry and clean energy advocates are hoping that President Joe Biden's administration can transform the country into a leader in offshore wind power. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Three of Deepwater Wind’s turbines stand in the water off Block Island, Rhode Island. (AP File Photo/Michael Dwyer)

With the offshore wind industry continuing to grow in the United States, a Baltimore-based nonprofit is hosting a job fair with leading offshore wind companies.

The Business Network for Offshore Wind is hosting a virtual job fair on Tuesday featuring at least 16 companies, including Eversource, Fugro and Broadwind. It is the organization’s third job fair, which on average attracts more than 300 job seekers, according to a company press release.

Offshore wind energy jobs “encompass a very wide range of occupations,” said Sam Salustro, the organization’s director of coalitions and partnerships in Maryland. The job fair will allow companies to showcase their job openings, including positions for geophysicists, naval architects and mechanical engineers, according to the organization’s website.

Salustro also said there is a “great need” in the offshore wind industry for non-college-educated workers in positions such as iron and metal welding.

According to a 2017 report from the Workforce Development Institute, workers “in the offshore wind industry can expect to earn a expect to earn a somewhat higher level of pay than they would in comparable sectors.”

“There’s such a need out there for people,” Salustro said.

The industry has made strides in recent months, with President Joe Biden’s administration taking steps to increase the nation’s production of offshore wind energy.

In March, the administration announced a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 — a decision Salustro said was “an extremely ambitious but also attainable goal.” The White House said the measure would employ more than 44,000 workers in offshore wind and bring nearly 33,000 jobs in communities supported by offshore wind projects.

The administration also announced plans last month to bring offshore clean energy projects to the West Coast with projects off the central and northern coasts of California. The White House said the projects could bring up to 4.6 gigawatts of clean energy to the grid, which would be enough to power 1.6 million homes.

“The Biden-Harris administration has really put offshore wind as a center of focus of not only their renewable energy development goals but also their job creation goals,” Salustro said.

Maryland is a home to the budding industry. In 2017, Maryland regulators approved plans for the first large-scale offshore wind projects in the U.S. The projects — headed by U.S. Wind of Baltimore and Skipjack Offshore Energy — would build an estimated 368 megawatts of capacity, bringing 9,700 full time equivalent jobs to the state.

“Maryland was seen as an early pioneer of the offshore wind industry,” Salustro said.

Ørsted, a company that will attend Tuesday’s job fair, is making progress in creating Maryland’s first offshore wind staging center at Tradepoint Atlantic, a 3,300 square foot center in Baltimore. The company announced in March that it had completed $13.2 million in port infrastructure upgrades at Tradepoint Atlantic.

Maryland also joined Virginia and North Carolina last fall in a partnership to expand the offshore wind industry.

At the same time, other states have released larger procurement goals devoted to offshore energy than Maryland, including New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

Maryland is “going through another power procurement round,” Salustro said, and he anticipates more activity to be announced within the year.

“It’s gonna have to take some steps to make itself competitive with its neighbors right now,” Salustro said.



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