A domestic supply chain is quickly emerging in support of U.S. offshore wind development and with two projects active off the state’s coast, Maryland companies have a prime opportunity to get involved. Project developers are looking to use local businesses to comply with state requirements, drive down costs, and develop supply chains close to projects. That means Maryland companies will help permit, engineer, construct, and perform maintenance on Maryland’s offshore wind projects. Companies traditionally involved in sectors like aerospace, defense, automotive, shipbuilding, maritime or port operations, construction, engineering, logistics, IT and cybersecurity, health and safety, and machine/metal fabrication are prime candidates for diversification into the offshore wind industry.
Manufacturing. Construction of an offshore wind project requires the manufacturing of large components, like towers, nacelles, foundations, and blades, close to ports or other water-accessible locations. These facilities require extensive supply chains to support construction and operations activities. It is estimated that for each 100 turbines constructed, approximately 6,000 jobs at subcontracting and supplier businesses in the supply chain are created. These businesses supply some of the 8,000 parts that go into a turbine, like gears, brakes, electronics, sensors, lights, ladders, decking, railings, boat launches, other secondary steel components and more. Businesses, from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to Tier 3 suppliers, interested in becoming a supplier in the offshore wind industry must achieve significant quality and safety standards, and achieve standardization and serial production requirements to meet constant installation rates.
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) and the Business Network for Offshore Wind are working hard to build the local supply chain that will help build the future offshore wind industry. The Business Network, with support from MEA, hosts a supply chain database where companies can indicate their ability to supply components or skills to the project developers and top-tier suppliers.
To help businesses prepare for the opportunity to work in offshore wind, the Business Network holds Foundation 2 Blade, an extensive training program with a singular purpose: to help companies identify where they fit into the offshore wind supply chain and potential contracting entities. The Business Network can also help prospective supply chain companies learn about grant and loan opportunities, identify certifications they may need, and get access to other resources.