Maryland Invites Applications for Offshore Wind Projects

With the receipt of the initial application for a proposed offshore wind project, the Maryland Public Service Commission has now opened a 180-day application period for any other developers of offshore wind projects off the Maryland coast.

Image source: US Wind

This application period begins on 25 February, 2016 and, unless extended, ends at the close of business on 23 August, 2016.

At the end of the application period, the commission will hold proceedings to allow interested parties to comment. The commission must approve, conditionally approve or deny an application within 180 days after the close of the application period.

The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 established a number of provisions for a qualified offshore wind project, which is required to be located on the outer continental shelf, between 10 and 30 miles off the coast, in an area designated for leasing by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in consultation with the State of Maryland.

The Act also created a carve-out for offshore wind energy in Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard for up to 2.5% of total retail electricity sales. In addition to satisfying several ratepayer impact protection measures, the offshore wind project must demonstrate positive net economic, environmental and health benefits to the state as a condition of approval.

In August 2014, BOEM awarded the Baltimore-headquartered US Wind with a lease sale of 80,000 acres offshore Maryland for potential wind energy development.

BOEM auctioned the Maryland Wind Energy Area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area and the South Lease Area.

US Wind plans to build a 500MW offshore wind farm at the site, some 15 miles off Ocean City. The wind farm will comprise 80-125 turbines, installed in 20-30 meters water depth. The turbines are expected to have an annual energy production of 1,824 GWh.

More information on how to apply for offshore wind projects in Maryland can be found here.