Maryland and Massachusetts advance offshore wind projects

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 20/12/2021 4C Offshore
The states of Maryland and Massachusetts made separate announcements advancing a total of 3.2 GW of offshore wind capacity last Friday (17 December 2021).

The Maryland Public Service Commission announced the award of offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) to two developers that have proposed more than 1600 MW in its second round of offshore wind solicitations. The winners were US Wind, Inc. and Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC.

US Wind‘s project of 808.5 MW was awarded ORECs at a price of $54.17/MWh for a term of 20 years, beginning when the turbines are operational. Skipjack‘s Phase 2.1 project of 846 MW secured ORECs at a price of $71.61/ MWh for a term of 20 years, also beginning when the turbines operate. The Round 2 projects are both expected to be operational before the end of 2026, but are also subject to review by the U.S. Department of the Interior‘s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The Commission attached numerous conditions to the approval, including requirements that the developers 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. Both companies will also be required to mitigate any potential adverse environmental, noise and lighting impacts during development, construction and operation.

The Commission‘s conditional approval also obligates the companies to use port facilities at Tradepoint Atlantic in the Baltimore area, and in Ocean City, for marshalling, operations and maintenance activities. US Wind must hold to its commitment to develop a monopile construction facility at Sparrows Point (Sparrows Point Steel); Skipjack will need to fulfil its plan to build subsea cable and turbine tower manufacturing facilities in Maryland, and invest in upgrades to an Eastern Shore company that assembles steel components for wind turbine foundations.

In a separate announcement the State of Massachusetts selected two projects to move forward to contract negotiations. Representing a combined total of 1.6 GW, the selected projects, in combination with two previous projects procured since 2016 bring the total amount of offshore wind procured by the State to approximately 3.2 GW.  

The selected projects include a 400 MW proposal from Mayflower Wind and a 1,200 MW proposal from Vineyard Wind. The Mayflower Wind and Vineyard Wind bids were selected for contract negotiations based on criteria established under a Request for Proposals (RFP) released in May 2021.  

The final acceptance of the bid(s) and award of contract is conditional upon successful contract negotiations between the parties and regulatory approval at the DPU. At the time of contract filing with the DPU, a public filing will be provided by the Electric Distribution Companies detailing the evaluation process. Separately, the Independent Evaluator will prepare and submit a detailed public report on the evaluation process and outcome. Final project selection as a result of successful contract negotiations will be made public following submittal for regulatory approval.

For more information on offshore wind farms in the US, click here.