Other countries have shown that to overcome offshore wind’s complicated supply chain and logistics, regional partnerships are a necessity. The lack of coordination in the United States is a key reason that foreign investors do not see states as a stable markets for investment. With several east coast states pursuing offshore wind projects, including Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, the potential for strong regional partnerships exists.
State governors could lead a regional effort similar to the expired Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium, which could allow states to share resources such as sea vessels and permitting strategies. The Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in June 2010 between the Department of the Interior and the governors of ten Atlantic states including: Virginia, North Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. The four-year agreement was intended to coordinate permitting and regulatory processes, share technical research findings, and collaboratively address infrastructure challenges. Unfortunately, because offshore wind was years away from becoming a reality, the consortium never addressed any of the goals of the MOU. However, with Rhode Island and other east coast states planning or constructing pilot projects, there is an eminent need to share infrastructure and planning resources among neighboring states.
State economies could benefit from reviving the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Alliance. Private and public sector leaders from each state could coordinate supply chain activities, financing strategies, research activities, infrastructure design, tax incentives, and permitting processes. Seeing regional coordination on supply chain logistics could increase the confidence of foreign investors. If states initiate a regional supply strategy and promptly start an offshore wind manufacturing center, they could begin to export turbine components to other states and international markets.