Maryland denies Ørsted's attempt to disqualify rival offshore wind bids

Offshore wind park. Image by: Ørsted A/S.

October 8 (Renewables Now) - Denmark’s Ørsted A/S (CPH:ORSTED) has failed in its initial attempt to disqualify a rival offshore wind project application in Maryland.

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) announced this week that it has denied without prejudice a Motion to Disqualify the application by US Wind Inc for a proposed offshore wind project. The motion was filed by Skipjack Offshore Energy LLC, a unit of Ørsted that is developing the 120-MW Skipjack 1 project off the coast of the Delmarva Peninsula and is also bidding for an up-to-760-MW extension known as Skipjack 2.

US Wind and Skipjack are the only two companies that submitted proposals in Round 2 of the state’s offshore wind solicitation. The former has made three mutually exclusive proposals, while the Ørsted subsidiary was behind two bids.

The table below gives more information about US Wind’s three proposals.

Bid Tranche 1 capacity Tranche 1 commercial operation date (COD) Tranche 2 capacity Tranche 2 COD
1 411.6 MW 2026 -- --
2 411.6 MW 2026 396.9 MW 2027
3 411.6 MW 2026 793.8 MW 2028

Skipjack has argued that the second and third bid of US Wind’s application do not meet the requirement that the selected offshore wind parks must begin generating offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) “not later than 2026.” US Wind, on the other hand, has responded that “nothing in the statute requires that an applicant ‘create the entirety of their ORECs not later than 2026,’ and that the plain meaning of the word “begin” is to commence, not to complete.”

The Ørsted unit is also disputing other factors, which the commission has determined raise issues that go beyond the pleadings. Evidentiary hearings are scheduled to commence on October 27, 2021.

“The Commission finds that it would be inappropriate to grant Skipjack’s Motion to Disqualify at this time. Skipjack’s Motion to Disqualify is therefore denied without prejudice. The parties may further address the factual and legal arguments raised in the Motion to Disqualify and responses during the October evidentiary hearings, and on brief, as appropriate,” the order reads.

Meanwhile, Ørsted announced it will build an O&M facility in west Ocean City at a total cost of almost USD 20 million (EUR 17.2m) to service its Skipjack Wind programme.

The site is planned to be the “strategic embarkation point” for up to three Crew Transfer Vessels (CTV). The facility will include a warehouse and serve as Ørsted’s Ocean City area office as well as the permanent home for key members of the Skipjack Wind 1 Maryland team.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.862)

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