Maryland regulators greenlight two major offshore wind projects

Toni Houston
May 13, 2017

The Gemini Offshore Wind Farm is expected to meet the energy needs of 1.5 million citizens of the Netherlands over the next 15 years. 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.

According to the commission's independent consultant, Levitan & Associates Inc, the net ratepayer bill impacts associated with the commission's approval are projected to be less than US$1.40 per month for residential customers and less than a 1.4 per cent impact on the annual bills of commercial and industrial customers - both less than the ratepayer impacts authorised by the enabling legislation, the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013. The companies must use port facilities in the greater Baltimore region and Ocean City for construction and operations and maintenance (O&M) activities, and invest at least a combined Dollars 76 million in a local steel fabrication plant, while also financing not less than USD 39.6 million to support port upgrades at the Tradepoint Atlantic.

The Netherlands have recently opened a massive offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

Commission chairman W. Kevin Hughes says the decision brings to fruition the General Assembly's efforts to establish Maryland as a regional hub for the developing offshore wind industry. We believe it represents a step forward in proving offshore wind as a means of renewable power generation, but also in delivering a new industry to the state of Maryland that has potential to create meaningful manufacturing and logistics jobs.

"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. "Offshore wind projects are a crucial part of America's energy future". It will cost an estimated $1.4 billion to build.

Maryland utility regulators this week approved subsidies for two offshore wind projects off the coast of Ocean City that would be largest of their kind in the country, a decision that could make the state a leader in the industry. US Wind's application is the only one that utilizes the designated Maryland Offshore Wind Area and was determined to be administratively complete by the Public Service Commission and to have met all ratepayers' safeguard criteria.

Awarded to developers US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy, the ORECs will see the companies building two wind energy plants with a total installed capacity of 368MW.

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