Maryland Regulators OK Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Plan

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US Wind is one of two developers whose applications for a Maryland offshore wind farm are being considered by the Public Service Commission (PSC) during a 180-day period, which began on November 28.

The projects by U.S. Wind Inc. and Skipjack Offshore Energy would have a combined 368 megawatts of capacity with 77 turbines at least 14 miles off the coast, Maryland's Public Service Commission said.

The offshore wind projects represent a combined capacity of 368 MW and could yield $1.8 billion in in-state spending, according to a press release, while bringing almost 9,700 indirect and direct jobs.

Those projects significantly outrank by size the nation's sole offshore wind farm known as Block Island off Rhode Island.

U.S. Wind also has a lease for an area off the coast of New Jersey that is three times the size of its holding near Maryland, but New Jersey is further behind in the regulatory process.

The construction of the Gemini Offshore Wind Park costs approximately $3 billion. It allows the companies to sell renewable-energy credits at a rate of $132 for each megawatt-hour they produce, helping cover the $2.1 billion estimated cost of building the two projects.

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The Maryland General Assembly approved a regulatory framework for offshore wind in 2013, after repeated efforts by then-Gov.

"It's going to cement Maryland as the epicenter of the offshore wind industry for decades to come", he said.

Skipjack estimates opening its operation near the end of 2022.

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

Expected to generate more than $1.8bn of in-state spending, the two projects will create opportunities for approximately 9,700 new direct and indirect jobs, as well as contribute $74m in state tax revenues over a period of 20 years.

The PSC's decision is contingent on approval by the federal government of the developers' site assessment plans, as well as construction and operations plans. 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 Dollars 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. It calls for developers to invest at least $76 million in a steel fabrication plant in Maryland and at least $39.6 million for upgrades at Baltimore County's Tradepoint Atlantic shipyard, formerly Sparrows Point.