US to Identify Additional Wind Energy Areas Offshore Maryland

The US federal government and the Maryland state government will work jointly to identify additional areas offshore Maryland that will house future offshore wind projects. This was announced on 11 December, following the release of the proposed sale notice for two wind energy areas (WEAs) in the Central Atlantic, one off Delaware and Maryland, and one offshore Virginia.

A third area that was identified for potential leasing, designated as WEA B-1 and located off Maryland, was removed from this proposed lease sale due to the significant costs and mitigation that would be required. The federal government says that it has preliminarily identified acreage off Maryland’s coast of a similar size and wind energy generation capacity to B-1 that could be offered in a subsequent auction.

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This area will be analyzed more fully and collaboratively by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the State of Maryland, federal agencies and other stakeholders as a potential WEA, along with additional potential offshore wind areas all along the Central Atlantic coastline, for inclusion in an offshore wind lease sale as early as 2025, the Department of the Interior (DOI) said in a press release on 11 December.

“We have made it clear that we are going to work to ensure that Maryland accelerates its growth in the clean energy economy, and we are committed to reaching our goal of creating 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy. Making Maryland the leader in generating clean, renewable wind energy for the whole region will require bringing everyone to the table,” said Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

“I appreciate the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to working with us to responsibly open areas for offshore wind that will help us meet our long-term goals. I look forward to our continued partnership with our federal and industry partners to help not only Maryland reach its goals, but to help the country reach its goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.”

Earlier this year, the governor enacted a bill that sets the state’s 2031 offshore wind target to 8.5 GW.

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Maryland currently has around 2 GW of offshore wind projects awarded offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) and moving through the federal permitting system.

In 2017, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) awarded offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) to US Wind’s and Ørsted’s 248 MW MarWin and 120 MW Skipjack 1 projects. In 2021, the two developers won ORECs for their 808.5 MW Momentum Wind (US Wind) and 846 MW Skipjack Wind 2 (Ørsted) offshore wind farms.

BOEM initiated the federal permitting process for the projects at US Wind’s offshore wind lease area last year and issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in October 2023.

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