The Maryland PSC denied a motion filed by Baltimore law firm Venable, LLP, and lead counsel, J. Joseph Curran and partners, to disqualify U.S. Wind’s application for additional round two wind turbines to be sited off the coast of Ocean City. Because Ørsted contended they will not produce wind energy by the required date of 2026 but rather will produce by 2027.
The Venable firm asks on behalf of Ørsted that PSC disqualify U.S. Wind’s Bids 2 and 3 from further consideration in Round 2, Year 1, “because the proposed projects are not designed to begin creating ORECs by 2026.” The Venable letter is dated Sept. 9, and the decision was made to deny the motion on Oct. 6.
In a statement to Coastal Point, Brady Walker, Ørsted’s Mid-Atlantic Market Manager said in a statement: “We are proud to be a long-term partner with Maryland to help deliver and support its clean energy vision. We took this action to seek clarity on the relevant Maryland statute, which aims to deliver clean energy quickly as a way to combat climate change and with offshore wind energy projects achieving commercial operation by 2026. We respect the PSC’s authority in considering this important matter —and its impacts on project timelines, economics, job creation and, most importantly, clean energy delivery.”
Here is additional text from the Ørsted complaint filing:
“Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC, an applicant for approval of a proposed Round 2 offshore wind project pursuant to the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019, hereby files this Motion to Disqualify in part the July 27, 2021 application of Marwin, II, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Wind, Inc. in the above-captioned case, on the grounds that Bids 2 and 3, included in U.S. Wind’s application, do not meet the statutory requirements of (the) Public Utilities Article (PUA) (which) requires that project proposals submitted during the January 1, 2020 application period (the “Round 2, Year 1” application period) begin creating ORECs not later than 2026, two price schedules included in U.S. Wind’s Bids 2 and 3 correspond to projects that will not begin creating ORECs until 2027 or later. For this reason, as explained more fully below, Skipjack respectfully requests that the Commission disqualify Bids 2 and 3 from consideration in the Round 2, Year 1 application period.
“If the Legislature intended to allow the consideration of a project proposed in the Round 2, Year 1 application period to also include projects that were to be considered in the Round 2, Year 2 application period (i.e. projects that begin creating ORECs after 2026 but not later than 2028), it would beg the question as to why the Legislature required separate application periods at all.”
According to the new report, the U.S. added a record-setting 16,836 megawatts in new utility-scale wind power capacity in 2020, even as the nation was in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More wind energy was installed in 2020 than any other energy source, accounting for 42 percent of new U.S. capacity, the Energy Department observed.
A grand total of just 42 megawatts in capacity is currently located off the Atlantic coast, consisting of Rhode Island’s five-turbine, 30-megawatt Block Island wind farm and the first two turbines, accounting for 12 megawatts, of the planned Skipjack wind farm off the coast of Virginia.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), provides a glimpse into the potential for enormous growth in job creation if political roadblocks can be overcome. NREL counts a total of 35,324 megawatts worth of new offshore wind power in the pipeline representing a 24 percent increase over 2019.