Maryland PSC awards ORECs for 368MW offshore wind project developments

Waters off the coast of Maryland will be home to not one but two offshore wind farms under a decision issued

The PSC says the decision allows U.S. Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy to build 368 megawatts of capacity. If the plans are approved, numerous turbines could be operational by 2020.

Maryland Public Service Commission's chairman Kevin Hughes said: "The approval today of the nation's first large-scale offshore wind projects brings to fruition the general assembly's efforts to establish Maryland as a regional hub for this burgeoning industry". Skipjack's plan is for 15 turbines between 17 and 21 miles offshore to produce 120 megawatts.

An analysis conducted for the PSC estimated the ORECs will cost residential customers less than $1.40/month and boost rates for commercial and industrial customers by less than 1.4% - below the limit set by the legislature in the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013.

The projects are expected to generate almost $2 billion in spending for Maryland creating almost 97-hundred jobs over the next 20 years.

The wind farm, dubbed as the Gemini Offshore Wind Park, boasts 150 turbines located 85 kilometers north of the Groningen coast.

"The approval today of the first large-scale offshore wind projects in the United States brings to fruition the general assembly's efforts to establish Maryland as a regional hub for this burgeoning industry", said W Kevin Hughes, commission chairman.




"US Wind is going to put a lot of skilled ironworkers to work in Maryland and we'll have them trained and ready to perform", said Will Beckman, Ironworkers Local 16.

Looking at the economic benefits of just these two Maryland projects makes it clear why leaders on both sides of the aisle recognize the value of offshore wind energy.

Officials in Ocean City, Md., a tourist destination near the planned wind farms, have been concerned throughout the planning process that the turbines would be unsightly and reduce tourism and have pushed for them to be as far away from the shore as possible.

"Additionally, we applaud the PSC's recognition of the need for investments in port upgrades at Tradepoint Atlantic with an eye toward unlocking the full potential of the site for offshore wind operations in coming years".

"This decision cements Maryland as a first-mover - we will now be the epicenter of this exciting new industry for decades to come", said Paul Rich, director of project development for US Wind.

"This marks the real start toward an extensive offshore wind industry that will one day soon stretch from Cape Cod, Mass., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., and provide as much as a third of the East Coast's electricity", the Chesapeake Climate Action Network said in a statement.

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