Environmental Groups Celebrate Maryland Public Service Commission’s Approval of New Offshore Wind Projects
This decision brings over 1600 MW of new offshore wind plus economic development
Susan Stevens Miller, Earthjustice, (443) 534-6401
Ricky Junquera, Sierra Club
Dannielle Lipinski, Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Earlier today, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) approved more than 1,650 MW of proposed offshore wind projects filed by US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy. This decision locks US Wind and Skipjack into economic development commitments across Maryland for the offshore wind industry.
“It is urgent that Maryland transitions away from fossil fuels toward clean energy,” said Susan Stevens Miller, a senior attorney on Earthjustice’s Right To Zero campaign. “The approval of both the US Wind and Skipjack projects is a critical step in meeting that demand. We must continue to grow Maryland’s wind energy industry to bring more jobs to local Maryland communities, clean our air, and tackle Maryland’s ambitious climate goals.”
In its Order, the PSC awarded Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits to US Wind for an 808.5 MW project that will consist of approximately 55 turbines, with the closest turbine located no more than 15 miles off the coast from Ocean City; and to Skipjack’s 846 MW project that will consist of approximately 60 turbines, with the closest turbine located no more than 20 miles off the coast from Ocean City. The PSC is calling on the developers to create a minimum of 10,324 direct jobs during the development, construction, and operating phases of the projects; commit to certain goals to engage small, local, and minority businesses; pass 80% of any construction costs savings to ratepayers, and contribute $6 million each to the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund.
“Offshore wind offers the promise of abundant clean renewable energy, but it will require strong policy support to jumpstart. The approval of these new projects is a key milestone, showing Maryland is in the game not just to participate, but to win the offshore wind race. This decision rockets Maryland into the vanguard of offshore wind development. We are excited that both projects are planning to invest in local manufacturing and supply chains, helping to grow the clean energy economy right here in Maryland,” said Josh Tulkin, Sierra Club Maryland chapter director.
With the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2019, Maryland continued its commitment to being a leader in the burgeoning offshore wind industry by requiring at least an additional 1,200 MW of offshore wind development by no later than 2030.
“This is a great first step for Maryland to reclaim its position as a national leader in clean energy solutions and offshore wind energy must be a prominent part of the equation. These projects have the potential to generate an enormous amount of electricity without contributing to climate change. And as these projects move forward, it is also crucial that Maryland’s overburdened and underserved communities have equal access to the opportunities created by offshore wind energy,” said Kim Coble, executive director, Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Offshore wind is one of Maryland’s most abundant renewable energy resources available and is a keystone tool for the state to meet its climate action laws and move away from polluting fossil fuels. Maryland’s offshore wind energy laws help ensure that the growing offshore wind energy industry is rooted in ensuring local, high-quality jobs, and investments in growing more minority- and women-owned businesses.
“This is a truly exciting result for folks on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We have been fighting for more clean energy and jobs for years and can’t wait to see turbines in the water. We are so grateful for the Marylanders that spoke up and supported growing the clean energy economy,” said Cindy Dillon, chair of the Sierra Club’s Lower Eastern Shore Group.
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