Bill Chambers: Wind projects will bring local jobs

On behalf of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce — representing hundreds of regional Delmarva businesses and thousands of their employees — we want to express our strong commitment to capturing the immense wind energy resource off our shores. To protect our health, wildlife, and economy — and the quality of life of future generations, we must reduce pollution and launch a new clean energy chapter for America.

The Eastern Shore of Maryland has enough offshore wind potential to meet many of the state’s energy needs. Despite this, we risk falling behind neighboring states with far less potential. Offshore wind projects in Maryland are expected to produce up to 750 megawatts of power, which will meet 100 percent of Maryland’s offshore wind renewable energy goals. This is enough power for more than 500,000 Maryland homes.

Investing in this pollution-free energy source, with no fuel costs, can help us reduce pollution and boost our local economies. Offshore wind blows strongest during times of peak energy demand — summer afternoons and winter cold snaps. It will diversify our energy portfolio with large amounts of valuable, clean power just when we need it most.

According to experts the project will create 5,000 jobs in the well paying construction and manufacturing fields, create a net-export industry for Maryland, provide a $16 billion net economic benefit for Maryland, spur $190 million on investment in critical infrastructure, and support nearly 100 long-term operations and maintenance careers; these are all incredibly positive outcomes for Maryland.

State and community leaders play a critical role in advancing offshore wind power off their shores. The Federal government has made significant progress in recent years identifying and approving locations for offshore wind to move Maryland toward realizing the golden opportunity over our horizon.

Maryland and the Eastern Shore’s citizens and wildlife are depending on bold leadership in ensuring a clean energy future. We strongly urge all to recognize just how much we stand to gain from harnessing our offshore wind power potential. Coastal resiliency, local jobs, increased investments in economic development, manufacturing, protecting wildlife and future generations of Marylanders, this is a promising clean energy solution.

Bill Chambers is President & CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

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