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US Wind, Ørsted get green light for expanded Ocean City offshore wind projects  

Credit:  US Wind, Ørsted get OK for expanded Ocean City offshore wind projects | Kristian Jaime | Salisbury Daily Times | Dec. 22, 2021 | www.delmarvanow.com ~~

Offshore wind projects are moving forward after a Maryland Public Service Commission decision to grant more offshore wind credits to proposals by US Wind and Ørsted.

The offshore wind renewable energy credits were given to the companies amid a total combined proposed output of 1600 megawatts of energy to be built off the coast of Maryland, according to the Friday announcement.

US Wind will develop 55 turbines for Momentum Wind in addition to the 22 turbines anticipated for MarWin, the company’s first project for Maryland, which will be constructed in the same lease area. In total, the two projects will have over 1,100 MW of capacity. Both projects will be supported by separate 20-year schedules of ORECs awarded by the state of Maryland.

“Momentum Wind is one of the state’s most ambitious clean energy projects ever,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, US Wind CEO. “Momentum Wind and Sparrows Point Steel will help Maryland stake a major claim in the rapidly growing U.S. offshore wind industry, propel the state to become an epicenter of offshore wind manufacturing.”

Ørsted will continue work on Skipjack Wind 2, an 846-megawatt project, which will power approximately 250,000 homes in the Delmarva region with clean energy. It will be located adjacent to the company’s 120-megawatt Skipjack Wind 1. Ørsted will build Skipjack Wind 1 and 2 as one project, with operations expected to begin in 2026.

“We are honored that Maryland’s Public Service Commission selected Ørsted as a trusted partner in helping the state reach its ambitious renewable energy goals,” said David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “We’re proud that we’re once again able to leverage our market-leading portfolio of offshore wind projects to attract major supply chain companies to set up local manufacturing operations in Maryland.”

Hardy said Skipjack Wind 2 will contribute “significantly” to Maryland’s goal of sourcing 50 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030, while positioning Maryland as a long-term offshore wind energy manufacturing hub.

According to the Maryland Public Service Commission, the projects represent nearly $1 billion in additional in-state spending and the catalyst for the creation of more than 10,000 new direct jobs in Maryland.

The new proposed projects are in addition to the 368 megawatts of offshore wind already being developed by both companies off Maryland’s shore and whose offshore wind renewable energy credits, or ORECs, were approved by the commission in 2017.

“The effects of climate change are real and, with its more than 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline, Marylanders are especially vulnerable,” said Commission Chairman Jason M. Stanek. “That’s why it is important for the commission to take this action that will put our state on a path of deeper decarbonization and help Maryland achieve its aggressive clean energy goals – the residents of our state and region deserve no less.”

Placement further offshore declined

The decision to further invest in offshore wind infrastructure remains controversial in locations like Ocean City, where public sentiment is still divided.

Among the most vocal detractors of offshore wind turbines off the Maryland coast is Rep. Andy Harris, R-1st-Md., who questions its actual power output and impact on the fishing industry.

According to the Maryland Public Service Commission, US Wind submitted three bids and Skipjack submitted two bids. The proposals were evaluated on a number of criteria including:

Impact to customer electric bills.
Maryland’s health, environmental and climate interests (including progress toward lowering the state’s greenhouse gas emissions).
Economic development benefits to the state.

“After considering the analyses conducted by the commission’s independent consultant, ICF Resources LLC, and Skipjack’s own consultant, Bates White, the commission determined that the Round 2 projects can be built without exceeding the incremental residential and nonresidential ratepayer electric bill impact caps imposed by the Maryland General Assembly (88 cents per month for residential customers and no more than 0.9% a year for commercial and industrial customers),” the Public Service Commission said in a statement.

The commission also concluded US Wind’s Bid 2 project of 808.5 megawatts is awarded ORECs at a levelized price of $54.17 per megawatt-hour for a term of 20 years, beginning when the turbines are operational.

Skipjack’s Phase 2.1 project of 846 megawatts is awarded ORECs at a levelized price of $71.61 per megawatt-hour for a term of 20 years, also beginning when the turbines operate. The Round 2 projects are both expected to be operational before the end of 2026.

The projects are also subject to review by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The decision was also conditional.

They include:

The companies to use port facilities at Tradepoint Atlantic in the Baltimore area, and in Ocean City, for marshaling, operations and maintenance activities.
US Wind must hold to its commitment to develop a monopile construction facility at Sparrows Point (Sparrows Point Steel).
Skipjack will need to fulfill its plan to build subsea cable and turbine tower manufacturing facilities in Maryland, and invest in upgrades to an Eastern Shore company that assembles steel components for wind turbine foundations.

During the proceeding, Ocean City officials requested the commission require all turbines to be located at least 30 miles from shore. The commission declined to take that step since the projects are sited in federal waters and are subject to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s review.

“It will require both developers to use the best commercially reasonable efforts to minimize the daytime and nighttime viewshed impacts of the projects – regardless of the outcome of the federal review processes,” the commission stated.

Source:  US Wind, Ørsted get OK for expanded Ocean City offshore wind projects | Kristian Jaime | Salisbury Daily Times | Dec. 22, 2021 | www.delmarvanow.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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