Maryland clears 368 MW of offshore wind projects

A picture from Cathie Associates visit to the US’ first commercial offshore wind farm; Block Island.

May 12 (Renewables Now) - The Maryland Public Service Commission (PUC) on Thursday announced it is awarding offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) to a couple of large-scale projects off the coast of the state totalling 368 MW.

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 USD 131.93 (EUR 121.4) per MWh for a term of 20 years. That term starts in January 2021 for US Wind and in 2023 for Skipjack.

Each developer must notify the PUC by May 25, 2017 whether it accepts the nearly 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 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 USD 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. At the same time, each developer will be required to enable minority-owned companies to participate as investors in the projects.

US Wind is expected to spend USD 1.375 billion on building its offshore wind park. 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. US Wind is required to locate the turbines as far to the east of the designated wind energy area as practical in order to minimise sightlines to the machines. The wind farm will connect to the grid at Indian River Substation (DE). It is expected to go online in January 2020.

In turn, Deepwater Wind has proposed to install 15 turbines about 17-21 miles offshore as part of its Skipjack project. The company calculates it will need to invest a total of USD 720 million to build the 120-MW wind farm. The plant is expected to become operational in November 2022. It will connect to the grid at an Ocean City substation.

Together, the two projects are seen yielding over USD 1.8 billion of in-state spending.

Deepwater Wind is the developer of the country's first operational offshore wind park -- the 30-MW Block Island plant located off the coast of Rhode Island, which went live in December 2016.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.920)

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