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Wind farm outfits take PSC’s deal; Companies pledge to meet jobs requirement and work out of ports in Maryland

Both US Wind and Deepwater Wind have agreed to the terms and conditions set forth by the Public Service commission as part of its May 11 decision to allow both wind farm projects to proceed off the coast of Ocean City.

Deepwater Wind was the first to issue a response to the commission for its Skipjack project, to be located about 17 miles off the coast straddling the Maryland-Delaware border.

“In accordance with [the] Public Utilities Article … and the terms of Maryland Public Service Commission Order 88192 dated May 11, 2017, Skipjack Offshore Energy LLC hereby accepts the approval of its Nov. 30, 2016 application to the commission and the designation of the Skipjack Wind Farm as a Qualified Offshore Wind Project as established in the order,” a letter signed by Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Skipjack, wrote in part accepting the offer.

Deepwater operates the first working wind farm in the nation at Block Island, Rhode Island.

Because the Skipjack project is offshore of both Maryland and Delaware, it must conduct meetings with officials from both states before its wind farm can begin operation, which is expected in 2023. This condition is not present for US Wind, but the developer must locate its project in the easternmost portion of its lease area that it can reasonably do.

Carville Collins, counsel for US Wind, accepted the PSC ruling on his client’s behalf using similar language to Grybowski’s letter.

Both companies provided rate schedules of Offshore Renewable Energy Credits they are entitled to sell as part of financing the projects, but are not allowed to collect on until production begins. There are minor differences, usually a matter of cents, between the company’s OREC cost proposals.

Addressing the most common concerns and criticisms of the projects are conditions that require both companies to use the best commercially available technology to minimize both daytime and nighttime views of the wind farm, as well as above ground and underwater sound generation.

Marine mammals are granted a measure of protection, again by the “best commercially available means,” to ensure they are not harmed by the turbines or construction. Birds are granted no such protection.

Each project is expected to create a certain number of jobs, accounted for by full time equivalent positions in the PSC report. US Wind is required to create at least 1,298 in-state direct development or construction period jobs and 2,282 direct operating period jobs.

Skipjack is required to create at least 913 development or construction period jobs and 484 direct operating period jobs.

Both entities are required to submit independently audited reports on job creation.

US Wind is required to spend 19 percent of capital expenditures in Maryland, and Skipjack is required to spend 34 percent in Maryland.

Both projects are required to use a port facility in the greater Baltimore region as the marshaling port, where the components of the project are transported and loaded onto the installation vessel. A port in the Ocean City region will be used as the operations and maintenance port.

Both projects must maintain an office in Maryland for the life of the project.

The full report of the case and the PSC rulings on the matter are located as Case 9431 found on the public service commission’s website, www.psc.state.md.us.