Wind Energy Project Off Ocean City Gets Maryland Okay
Wind Energy Project Off Ocean City Gets Maryland Okay
Maryland regulators OK nation's largest offshore wind plan
13 May, 2017, 10:25
The move was a welcome surprise for renewable-energy advocates, who had expected the Maryland Public Service Commission to pick only one of the competing proposals to receive the subsidies, which are funded through increases in residential and commercial utility bills.
US Wind's 62-turbine, 248-MW project, 12 to 15 nautical miles offshore, has an estimated cost of $1.375 billion and is expected to begin operations in January 2020. That would be greater than the nation's sole wind farm, a five-turbine, 30-megawatt facility off Rhode Island.
Deepwater Wind operates the first offshore wind project in the US, the 30-MW Block Island project off Rhode Island that began operations in December.
US Wind is expected to spend United States dollars 1.375 billion on building its offshore wind park. It will cost about $720 million to build. Skipjack's plan is for 15 turbines between 17 and 21 miles offshore to produce 120 megawatts.
The Maryland General Assembly approved a regulatory framework for offshore wind in 2013, after repeated efforts by then-Gov.
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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 PSC's decision is contingent on approval by the federal government of the developers' site assessment plans, as well as construction and operations plans.
Paul Rich, director of project development for U.S. Wind, said the commission's decision will help draw manufacturers to the state and make it the primary producer of materials for others that embrace offshore wind.
The companies will be required to use port facilities in the Baltimore region and Ocean City for construction, operations and maintenance, fund nearly $40 million in upgrades at the Tradepoint Atlantic (formerly Sparrows Point) shipyard in Baltimore County and invest at least $76 million in a steel fabrication plant in the state (Case No. 9431). "Offshore wind is coming to the Atlantic Coast, and we want to be part of this exciting new industry". It calls for developers to invest at least $76 million in a steel fabrication plant in Maryland and at least $39.6 million for upgrades at Baltimore County's Tradepoint Atlantic shipyard, formerly Sparrows Point.
"I believe this decision creates tremendous opportunities for Maryland", commissioner Michael T. Richard said in a statement.
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