Maryland Begins Final Step in Offshore Wind Project Approval

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21st, 2016

Contact: Tiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, O:(443) 759-3402, C: (248) 933-2451, hartungt@nwf.org

Maryland Begins Final Step in Offshore Wind Project Approval

Public Service Commission begins review of offshore wind proposals

Annapolis, Md.—The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) begins the 180-day proceeding to evaluate offshore wind project proposals today.

“This is the last step for Maryland to move forward with an offshore wind project,” said Karla Raettig of Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Maryland is excited to utilize this tremendous clean energy and become a leader with this new U.S. industry.”

The passage of the 2013 Maryland Offshore Energy Wind Act created a framework for Maryland to utilize offshore wind as a clean and renewable energy source. In addition to the law creating a market for this developing industry, it also helped ensure that Maryland small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, will be ready to participate in the offshore wind supply chain.

“The wind blowing off the Atlantic coast is a tremendous untapped clean energy source that will create thousands of local jobs and help stabilize electric rates throughout the state,” said Josh Berman of the Sierra Club.

The PSC oversees the process by which offshore wind project developers compete to provide Maryland with offshore wind power. Offshore wind applications are required to meet a set of legislated criteria that provide a net benefit to Marylanders including: long-term price stability, environmental and public health benefits, creating in-state jobs, producing positive economic benefits, reducing transmission congestion costs for consumers, and providing the lowest price (not to exceed $1.50 per month in 2012 dollars).

“Offshore wind energy will help protect people and wildlife from pollution and help Maryland do its part to address climate change,” said Jen Mihills of the National Wildlife Federation.

According to a report by Synapse Energy Economics, a 200 megawatt offshore wind farm in Maryland would result in $75 million in benefits, helping reduce premature death by lowering sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions–harmful pollutants emitted from fossil fuels–and benefiting the climate by reducing carbon pollution.

The PSC began the offshore wind application period on February 25, 2016 and closed it on November 18th, 2016.  It will evaluate the applications based on the legislative net benefit criteria.  Once a project is approved, construction could begin as soon as 2019 and wind turbines could be spinning off of the Atlantic coast as soon as 2020.

Information about the OREC proceeding can be found at www.marylandoffshorewind.com.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland.  For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit http://www.marylandclimatecoalition.org.