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Bill blocks funds for close-to-shore Maryland offshore wind farms

Image by Deepwater Wind (dwwind.com)

July 21 (Renewables Now) - The appropriations committee at the US House of Representatives this week cleared the fiscal year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill that includes certain limitations concerning wind power installations off the Maryland coast.

The legislation includes an amendment that disallows providing funds for activities associated with wind turbines installed less than 24 miles (38.6 km) from the state shoreline. Such activities include conducting reviews of site assessment or construction and operation of wind parks. Ratepayers across Maryland will not be able to contribute funds either, if the plan does not ensure positive economic, environmental and health benefits.

The amendment was adopted on a voice vote, according to an announcement from Tuesday.

“Ocean City’s economy heavily relies on its real estate and tourism sectors, and there has not yet been a proper examination on whether construction of these wind turbines will have a negative economic impact on the community,” congressman Andy Harris said in a statement.

In May, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PUC) awarded offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) for 368 MW in total to a couple of large-scale projects off the coast of the state. Specifically, it decided to award ORECs to US Wind Inc and Deepwater Wind’s Skipjack Offshore Energy LLC at a levelized price of USD 131.93 (EUR 113.1) per MWh for a term of 20 years.

US Wind plans to build a 248-MW wind park, while Deepwater Wind is preparing a 120-MW development known as the Skipjack project. Neither of them have provided evidence that their projects will result in positive benefits, according to the congressman.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.857)

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