The Business Network for Offshore Wind added to its suite of innovative programming by organizing and hosting a two-day virtual event connecting local government officials with European industry experts.
The Offshore Wind Knowledge Exchange, which took place in late December, allowed Maryland legislators, agency personnel, and other stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the offshore wind industry and directly ask questions to European industry experts. Maryland officials were briefed on key aspects of offshore wind project development, including, radar interference, tourism, supply chain development, grid and transmission and the next areas of innovation: hydrogen and floating offshore wind.
“With the State of Maryland’s new focus on regional collaboration through SMART Power partnership, we knew state officials were eager to jumpstart their understanding of the industry that would benefit their local jurisdictions,” said Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network. “This unique format lets local stakeholders learn valuable lessons directly from those already working in the field. This is exactly the kind of exchange we need to support robust offshore wind development here in the United States.”
Maryland stakeholders were able to hear from and converse with offshore wind energy industry representatives from Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, Norway, and Germany about the issues and they faced. and lessons learned when first embarking on offshore wind development. Of particular interest to the Maryland officials was a segment on how the construction of a nearby windfarm spurred tourist activity at popular beachside communities located south of London. A new education center is a popular draw among the public and nearby schools, and tour boat companies find constant demand to take the beachgoers closer to the windfarm. The Maryland officials also learned how Scotland’s government developed their local supply chains through innovating programs, some of which parallel efforts by the Business Network for Offshore Wind here in the U.S.
The Business Network added the Knowledge Exchange program to its line of innovative services for both officials and companies interested in entering the offshore wind industry. In the first quarter of 2021, the Network will also launch its OSW Market Dashboard, is a one-stop platform for companies to access information on all current and pending U.S. offshore wind energy projects. The Market Dashboard hosts articles, contracts, legislation, specifications on each U.S. project, contractor details, and ports and vessels. The Dashboard is searchable by project, state, and region. The Network also will expand its Foundation 2 Blade Industry Training offerings to help companies who want to diversity into the growing offshore wind industry.