Maryland regulators OK nation's largest offshore wind plan

Glen Mclaughlin
May 13, 2017

The project envisages erecting 62 wind turbines about 12-15 miles (19.3-24.1 km) off the coast of Maryland for a total power generating capacity of 248 MW.

Those projects significantly outrank by size the nation's sole offshore wind farm known as Block Island off Rhode Island.

The decision benefits US Wind Inc and Deepwater Wind's Skipjack Offshore Energy LLC, each of which will receive ORECs at a levelized price of Dollars 131.93 (EUR 121.4) per MWh for a term of 20 years. "Each new fabrication facility that we can bring to Maryland because of offshore wind will generate $30-50 million of investment in infrastructure and thousands of trained workers". It will cost an estimated $1.4 billion to build.

US Wind Inc., a subsidiary of Toto Holding SpA, and Skipjack Offshore Wind LLC, owned by Deepwater Wind Holdings, are the two companies receiving the ORECS for the projects.

MPSC Chairman W. Kevin Hughes, said, "We have taken great care to ensure that this decision maximizes economic and environmental benefits to the state while minimizing costs to Maryland ratepayers".

The Maryland General Assembly approved a regulatory framework for offshore wind in 2013, after repeated efforts by then-Gov.

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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.

As a result the commission said it was placing the turbines the furthest out from the shoreline as possible. "Offshore wind is coming to the Atlantic Coast, and we want to be part of this exciting new industry". The plant is expected to become operational in November 2022.

The PSC said the two projects are expected to yield more than $1.8 billion of in-state spending.

The projects had to meet a number of conditions to gain approval, including requirements that the developers create a minimum of 4,977 direct jobs during the development, construction and operating phases of the projects; pass 80 percent of any construction costs savings to ratepayers; and contribute $6 million each to the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund. 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.

US Wind leads the industry and labor representatives on a tour today of the 3,100-acre former Sparrows Point steel mill, a site being redeveloped by Tradepoint Atlantic.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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