Maryland regulators OK nation's largest offshore wind plan

Maryland regulators OK nation's largest offshore wind plan

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 Gemini offshore wind farm has 150 wind turbines located in two 34 square km areas next to each other in the North Sea.

According to the commission's independent consultant, Levitan & Associates Inc, the net ratepayer bill impacts associated with the commission's approval are projected to be less than US$1.40 per month for residential customers and less than a 1.4 per cent impact on the annual bills of commercial and industrial customers - both less than the ratepayer impacts authorised by the enabling legislation, the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013.

"Rhode Island has positioned itself as a leader in offshore wind with the Block Island Wind Farm - the first of its kind in the United States", notes Langevin, who serves as energy task force chair on the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition in the House of Representatives.

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While the project to be built by US Wind will have an installed capacity of 248MW and comprise 62 wind turbines, the 15-turbine facility to be constructed by Skipjack will have a capacity of 120MW.

"We have taken great care to ensure that this decision maximizes economic and environmental benefits to the state while minimizing costs to Maryland ratepayers", PSC Chairman Kevin Hughes said in a statement.

They also expect the offshore wind farm to make a significant contribution to meeting the Netherlands' renewable energy targets. 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.

"Maryland has limited coastline", he said.

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"This decision cements Maryland as a first-mover - we will now be the epicenter of this exciting new industry for decades to come", said Paul Rich, director of project development for US Wind. Growing offshore wind to scale will help attract new manufacturing and investment to states like Maryland that have business-friendly policies. "We are thrilled to be part of this exciting Maryland project".

The decision, announced on 11 May 2017, enables US Wind Inc and Skipjack Offshore Energy LLC to construct 368 megawatts (MW) of capacity.

The construction of the Gemini Offshore Wind Park costs approximately $3 billion.

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