Press Release

December 11, 2023
Cardin, Van Hollen Announce Agreement with White House on Offshore Wind Development in Central Atlantic
Deal ensures Maryland can continue making progress on reaching clean energy goals

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) joined the Biden-Harris Administration in announcing the proposed offshore wind lease sale of two previously announced parcels in the Central Atlantic Ocean to be held in 2024, along with a commitment to identify additional acreage off Maryland’s shores to be designated as Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) for lease in a second sale in 2025. This announcement comes after months of engagement between the Senators and Administration officials – including from the White House Climate Policy Office, the Department of Interior and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the Department of Defense, among others – to ensure expanded acreage off of Maryland’s coasts will be available for offshore wind energy development so the state can continue making progress toward its climate and clean energy goals.

“Offshore wind energy is a valuable alternative to fossil fuels, and expanding these projects puts us on the right track in achieving our clean energy goals,” said Senator Cardin. “Together, with the support of the Biden-Harris administration, we have greater opportunity to advance new offshore wind projects, create good-paying jobs and position Maryland to lead the offshore wind industry.”

“After a series of meetings and much dialogue with Biden Administration and key stakeholders, I am pleased that we have reached an agreement on offshore wind leasing in the Central Atlantic that ensures Maryland can continue to make progress toward achieving our wind energy deployment goals. We have done so while also protecting key national security and navigational safety priorities in these waters. Critically, we have worked with the Administration to identify additional areas to consider for wind development and secured their commitment to hold a second round of offshore wind lease sales in 2025. While there’s more work to do, this agreement is an important step toward increasing our energy security, fighting the climate crisis, and creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for American workers,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The Biden-Harris administration is working hand in hand with our state partners nationwide to build a new American offshore wind industry, cut energy costs for families, and create thousands of good-paying jobs, all while tackling the climate crisis,” said President Biden’s National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “Thanks to the leadership of Senators Van Hollen and Cardin and Governor Moore, the future of Maryland’s offshore wind industry is bright. The Biden-Harris administration will continue to use every available tool to ensure American workers and communities reap the economic and environmental benefits of this growing industry in Maryland and across the country.”

“Since the start of our administration, the Department of the Interior has approved the nation’s first six commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects. Today’s announcement is another step forward in the Biden-Harris administration’s pursuit of a clean energy future,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “We are taking action to jumpstart America’s offshore wind industry and using American innovation to deliver reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses, while also addressing the climate crisis.”

“The power and promise of a clean energy future is undeniable. We join Maryland leaders in our enthusiasm for the potential for wind energy offshore Maryland and are committed to ongoing collaboration with federal and state partners, community leaders and ocean users to ensure that we are pursuing a solution that meets the moment,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein.

Since sending a letter in January 2023 urging the Biden-Harris Administration to maximize the leasing space available for offshore wind energy in the Central Atlantic Ocean, Senator Van Hollen and Team Maryland continued to engage regularly with Administration officials to ensure Maryland can lead the way in the clean energy transition and offshore wind development. In July, the lawmakers pressed the White House to coordinate with all federal agencies with interests in ocean use in order to keep offshore wind projects across the nation on track. Later that month BOEM released a WEA map that included the two areas being announced today – A1 and C2 – as well as a third parcel, B1 which was not found to be viable at this time. Senator Van Hollen and Team Maryland continued to work with these officials with the goal of unlocking as much Central Atlantic offshore wind energy acreage as possible while balancing other important federal ocean use priorities such as national security operations, navigational safety, and environmental health.

As a result of these efforts, Team Maryland and the Administration reached the current agreement to both propose the lease sale of areas A1 and C2 and commit to further analyzing a new identified area of similar size and capacity of B1 for designation as a WEA to be offered in an additional lease sale as early as 2025. A second round of lease sales in 2025 will put Maryland, and the Central Atlantic states, on a path to reach our wind energy deployment goals. The current A1 and C2 sites, located off the Delmarva coast, cover enough acreage to power over 2.2 million homes with clean energy.

The Biden-Harris Administration and State of Maryland will continue to evaluate additional WEAs in the Central Atlantic off Maryland’s shores that can advance the clean energy deployment and job creation goals of the POWER Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Governor Moore earlier this year.

More information on the announcement is available here.