Maryland becomes an offshore wind contender with OREC decision

Posted May 13, 2017

The Public Service Commission awarded offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) to US Wind and Deepwater Wind's Skipjack Offshore Energy. "Building the wind farm off Block Island has been a boost for our economy, and those turbines are already reducing our region's carbon footprint".

The MPSC says the decision will enable U.S. Wind, Inc. and Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC to construct 368 megawatts of capacity, together yielding over $1.8 billion of in-state spending, spurring the creation of nearly 9,700 new direct and indirect jobs and contributing $74 million in state tax revenues over 20 years.

US Wind's proposal is to build 62 turbines between 12 and 15 nautical miles offshore to generate 248 megawatts.

The construction of the Gemini Offshore Wind Park costs approximately $3 billion. It would cost about $720 million to develop and would open in November 2022.

In turn, Deepwater Wind has proposed to install 15 turbines about 17-21 miles offshore as part of its Skipjack project.

Kevin Hughes said the approval "brings to fruition the General Assembly's efforts to establish Maryland as a regional hub for this burgeoning industry".

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"We successfully completed Gemini ahead of schedule, under budget and with an excellent safety record", said Matthais Haag, Managing Director of the Gemini Offshore Wind Park, in a press release.

"It's going to cement Maryland as the epicenter of the offshore wind industry for decades to come", he said.

Each developer must notify the PUC by May 25, 2017 whether it accepts the almost 30 conditions of approval contained in the order, including a requirement that calls for them to create at least 4,977 direct jobs during the development, construction and operating phases of the projects. The company will begin the installation process for the tower immediately and next focus on its application for a Construction and Operations Plan to be submitted later this year to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Today, US Wind also hosted several leading fabrication companies in Baltimore to discuss plans to locate more than $100 million worth of industrial facilities in the Sparrows Point area associated with their offshore wind project off Ocean City, Md.

Conditions to the OREC approval include a requirement that these companies invest at least $76 million in Maryland steel-making and a further $39.6 million in upgraded infrastructure at the Tradepoint Atlantic shipyard.

Commissioner Michael Richard said the wind farms will "enables us to meet our clean, renewable energy goals using energy generated within the state while conditioning our approval on holding project developers to their promises of creating jobs and spurring economic growth".