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article imageMaryland regulators OK plan for two large offshore wind projects

By Karen Graham     May 11, 2017 in Technology
Ocean City - Maryland's Public Service Commission (PSC) on Thursday awarded renewable energy credits to not one, but two large offshore wind projects off Maryland's Eastern Shore, not far from Ocean City.
The Maryland PSC authorized 368 MW of offshore wind capacity in the Atlantic Ocean, reports the Baltimore Sun. The officials were expected to choose either US Wind or Deepwater Wind affiliate Skipjack Offshore Energy. However, in a surprise move, both applicants were given the green light.
North American Wind Power reports the PSC wrote in its order: “The ‘all-in’ approach to offshore wind that we undertake today signals to our neighbors and the world that Maryland is ready to serve as a regional hub and a substantial base for additional offshore wind development up and down the East Coast, thus yielding sustained job growth for many years to come.”
The combined projects will be huge, compared to Deepwater's Block Island wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, which has five turbines and a 30MW wind capacity. Reports show that Maryland will be adding approximately 9, 700 new jobs, as well as adding about $74 million in state tax revenues.
A beautiful sight off the coast of Block Island  Rhode Island.
A beautiful sight off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island.
Deepwater Wind
"I believe this decision creates tremendous opportunities for Maryland," commissioner Michael T. Richard said in a statement. "It 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."
And besides dotting the Ocean City horizon with turbines by the year 2020, the projects will add almost one dollar to residential electric bills, while preventing the emission of hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide every year. The two companies were given until May 25 to accept the terms and conditions that require a certain level of job creations and investment.
US Wind project
US Wind was founded in 2011 and is fully owned by Italy-based Renexia S.p.A. and a subsidiary of Toto Holding Group. Their proposal is to build a 500 to 700 MW wind farm off the coast of Maryland. US Wind asked for offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) to support the development of 248 MW of offshore wind capacity.
According to the application, the total cost of the project is estimated to be $1.375 billion, or $5,544/kW. The company plans on using 85 to 187 model 4-6 MW Turbines. Their grid connection point would be The Indian River Power Plant in Millsboro, Delaware. Enough wind capacity would be generated to power 531,200 homes.
US Wind s Maryland Project site.
US Wind's Maryland Project site.
US Wind
US Wind also conducted a marine survey of the ocean floor off Ocean City in 2016 and recently received a final permit for a meteorological site at the location. The company anticipated having the site fully operational by 2020.
Deepwater Wind's Skipjack Wind Farm
Deepwater Wind's Skipjack proposed the construction of a 120 MW capacity wind farm about 17 to 21 nautical miles off the Maryland Coast in the Delaware wind energy management area designated in the by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Skipjack plans on using 15 Model 8 MW class turbines and monopile foundations.
The estimated cost of Skipjack's project is around $720 million, or $6,000/kW. Skipjack will connect to the electrical grid at a substation in Ocean City, with the POI established during the PJM interconnection process. Skipjack's wind farm should be operational by 2022.
There are added benefits to the PSC plan in giving the green light to construction of the wind farms. The focus of the PSC plan is on the development of regional port facilities in Baltimore and Ocean City. It calls for the two companies to invest $76 million in a steel fabrication plant, as well as $39.6 million for upgrades at Baltimore County's Tradepoint Atlantic shipyard, formerly Sparrows Point.
More about Maryland, Offshore wind farms, US Wind, Deepwater's Skipjack, 368 MW capacity
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