Maryland approves two offshore wind projects

Maryland Public Service Commission has conditionally awarded offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) to two projects to be developed by US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy off the coast of Maryland.

The approval will allow the companies to construct 368MW of capacity that yield more than $1.8bn in-state spending.

The two projects are expected to create nearly 9,700 new jobs contributing $74m in state tax revenues over a period of 20 years.

Maryland Public Service Commission chairman Kevin Hughes said: “The approval today of the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind projects brings to fruition the General Assembly’s efforts to establish Maryland as a regional hub for this burgeoning industry.

“We have taken great care to ensure that this decision maximises economic and environmental benefits to the state while minimising costs to Maryland ratepayers.”

Each company has been awarded ORECs at a levelized price of $131.93 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for 20 years, starting January 2021 for US Wind and 2023 for Skipjack.

The commission awarded the approval with nearly 30 conditions, which require developers to create a minimum of 4,977 direct jobs during the development and contribute $6m each to the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund.

The companies have to use the port facilities in the greater Baltimore region and Ocean City for construction and operations and maintenance activities.

Further, they need to jointly invest at least $76m in a steel fabrication plant in Maryland in addition to funding at least $39.6m to support port upgrades at the Tradepoint Atlantic shipyard in Baltimore County.

The projects are expected to produce multiple environmental and health benefits and also reduce nearly 19,000t of carbon dioxide emissions per year for 20 years.