The Annual Meeting of the Business Network for Offshore Wind coincides with the anniversary of the passage of the Maryland Offshore Wind Act of 2013 (MOWEA). This legislation is still the most supportive and clearly defined offshore wind legislation in the country. It is a time for us to gather to examine what we have accomplished and how we need to continue to move forward.
As we look back on the year, it was an eventful one in Maryland and one that brought change at the highest levels of leadership. The legislative champions that spearheaded the MOWEA legislation through the Statehouse are still committed. Some of these members joined us to celebrate our accomplishments and to show their continued support for moving offshore wind forward.
The Network believes in harnessing the power of offshore wind to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for all citizens. We have forged ahead in MD, VA, MA, RI, NJ and OH, each working on our own individually. However, by competing, not collaborating, we missed the bigger picture.
We all need each other – we stand stronger if we stand together. We have often said that no one company will be able to build an offshore wind project. Well, no one state can build an industry.
It is also about you as individual companies. Offshore wind has moved from theory to reality as Deepwater Wind began construction this month in Maine on their offshore wind project. You will soon be faced with making critical business decision about how and if you will invest—infrastructure, training, certifications—and as you examine the ROI, it makes much more financial sense with a pipeline of projects than a one off project. It is about protecting your investment—your time, your resources and your money. You do not want your investment to be for a “one and done” project. You need a project pipeline to leverage those investments in more work, more jobs, and yes, more money.
If we have only one-off projects, we will not be able to build an industry and we will have missed the opportunity to establish a U.S. industry. The reality is with one-off projects, most of the components, labor and knowledge will be imported from N. Europe or the UK.; the only way for developers to make economic sense.
The Network sees this, and understands that we as a nation and an industry are at a crossroads. We believe the Network must lead the way in building a U.S. supply chain for offshore wind. We will work with all the developers in all states to create a market so you can increase your opportunities and maximize your investment.
We are going to focus inside and outside the State, helping all developers in all states build the U.S. market. We believe this offers the most opportunities for our members and helps you achieve more while minimizing your risk.
Over the next year the Network will continue to:
• bring together top developers, policy makers, global experts, and local member businesses, and maintain our core values of collaboration, education, advocacy and visibility.
• connect member businesses and facilitate partnerships that turn local companies into desirable, high-performance teams that offer a wide range of services and products in one location.
• empower member businesses with educational programming and help them identify opportunities within the offshore wind industry so they can make informed decisions and get the experience necessary to participate. We will build capacity and expertise.
• nurture our relationships, both national and international, with top developers, as well as policymakers and economic development agencies to assure our position in the market. We will create visibility and credibility for our members.
In conclusion, we are dedicated to building a business network that ushers our nation into the offshore wind energy market, bringing more business opportunities to our members.