Maryland can secure new renewable energy and economic benefits by developing offshore wind energy. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates offshore wind could generate roughly twice the amount of electricity the nation consumes annually, with 80 percent of the demand consumed in major cities along the coasts. Offshore wind projects can help revitalize sectors of Maryland’s economy such as manufacturing, maritime, and port logisitics industries while creating thousands of high paying jobs. Further, developing Maryland’s offshore wind resources will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change while creating positive economic activity.
In an effort to encourage offshore wind development off Maryland’s coast, the State enacted the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013. This initiative revised the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal to source 25 percent of all electricity consumed in the State from renewable energy by the year 2020 and created a “carve-out” for offshore wind not to exceed 2.5 percent (about 500 MW) of the overall RPS. In November 2016, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) began reviewing two proposed projects submitted by Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC (Ørsted, A/S)
and US Wind, Inc.
(Round 1 Projects) which total 368 MW. On May 11, 2017, the PSC announced
in Order No. 88192
that both projects were approved with conditions.
The RPS was revised again in 2019 through the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) which increased Maryland's overall RPS to 50 percent by 2030. CEJA removed the upper limit on offshore wind development and specifically required at least an additional 1,200 MW of Round 2 Projects through three new rounds of offshore wind procurement. In July 2021, the PSC initaited the first procurement and began reviewing five proposed project applications. On December 17, 2021, the PSC announced
in Order No. 90011
(and errata) it approved with conditions Ørsted's Skipjack Wind Phase 2.1 and US Wind's Momentum Wind (Bid 2) applications (Round 2 Projects) which total 1,654.5 MW. Once these projects reach commerical operation in 2026, Maryland will surpass its offshore wind development goal by more than 400 MW and four years ahead of schedule.
Maryland's total offshore wind market (Round 1 and Round 2) stands at 2,022.5 MW which should provide enough electricity to power about 600,000 average homes. These projects are estimated to create more than 12,000 direct full time equivalent (FTE) jobs during the development and constructions phase and more than 3,000 direct FTE jobs during the 20 - 30 year operations and maintenance phase. These projects will support Maryland's growing offshore wind supply chain and result in at least $1.5 Billion of in-state expenditures including investments of $40 million for port infrastrucutre, $76 million for steel fabrication, $150 million for monopile foundation manufacturing, $140 million for subsea cable manufacturing, and $100+ million for a turbine tower manufacturing. Both project developers have committed to small, minority, woman, and veteran owned business participation goals of 15 percent (US Wind) and 29 percent (Ørsted) during project development.