U.S. Lawmakers Band Together On Offshore Wind Incentive Bill

Posted May 13, 2017

Maryland's Public Service Commission today awarded offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) to the companies US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC to build wind projects totaling 368 megawatts (MW) of capacity miles off the state's coast.

Comprising 150 wind turbines situated some 85 km (53 miles) north of the Dutch city of Groningen, Gemini wind park has a 600 MW generating capacity and is thought to be one of the world's largest offshore wind farms.

The Gemini Offshore Wind Farm is expected to meet the energy needs of 1.5 million citizens of the Netherlands over the next 15 years.

The Public Service Commission awarded offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) to US Wind and Deepwater Wind's Skipjack Offshore Energy. "Each new fabrication facility that we can bring to Maryland because of offshore wind will generate $30-50 million of investment in infrastructure and thousands of trained workers".

"Ventower Industries is excited about the opportunity to work with US Wind and our local partners to build and expand the supply chain for the growing offshore wind industry here in the United States", said Gregory Adanin, president and CEO. It allows the companies to sell renewable-energy credits at a rate of $132 for each megawatt-hour they produce, helping cover the $2.1 billion estimated cost of building the two projects. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat.

They said that because of the longer planning and permitting times now needed for offshore wind no additional projects are projected to be able to qualify for tax credits before they expire in 2019.

Michael James, who chairs Ocean City's economic-development committee, said business owners and residents will push to ensure that the turbines are as small and as far away from the shoreline as possible.

"It's going to cement Maryland as the epicenter of the offshore wind industry for decades to come", he said. The agency says the projects are estimated to create almost 9,700 new direct and indirect jobs and contribute $74 million in state tax revenues over 20 years. The plant is expected to become operational in November 2022.

The companies will be required to use port facilities in the Baltimore region and Ocean City for construction, operations and maintenance, fund nearly $40 million in upgrades at the Tradepoint Atlantic (formerly Sparrows Point) shipyard in Baltimore County and invest at least $76 million in a steel fabrication plant in the state (Case No. 9431).

Together, the two projects are seen yielding over Dollars 1.8 billion of in-state spending.