“We successfully completed Gemini ahead of schedule, under budget and with an excellent safety record”, said Matthais Haag, Managing Director of the Gemini Offshore Wind Park, in a press release. As of May 1, Block Island is the first location in the U.S.to be powered by an offshore wind farm – a wind farm that has eliminated the need for a diesel plant that was burning about one million gallons of dirty diesel fuel annually.
US Wind’s Maryland project is planned 12 to 17 miles off the coast of Ocean City, Md. and would produce 750 MW of renewable energy and construct up to 187 turbines. Additionally, the Netherlands’ new wind farm also has two offshore high-voltage substations connected to the land station in Eemshaven by a 110-kilometer export cable.
The commission attached dozens of conditions to its approval, including requiring the companies to create almost 5,000 jobs related directly to development of the projects and invest $76 million in a Maryland steel plant, $39.6 million toward port upgrades at a shipyard near Baltimore and $12 million to the state’s Offshore Wind Business Development Fund. The companies will be required to use port facilities in the greater Baltimore region and Ocean City for construction and operations and maintenance activities.
Maryland set a course to become one of the top offshore wind developers after opening a docket at the end of past year to review two proposed projects.
The other three stakeholders are: Siemens Wind Power, the wind turbine manufacturer (20 percent); the waste processing company HVC (10 percent); and Dutch contractors Van Oord (10 percent), who specialize in offshore projects.
US Wind, a subsidiary of Italy’s Toto Holdings, thanked the PSC for the decision in a statement, saying “Maryland is now the undisputed national leader for offshore wind”.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network estimates that the reduction is equal to taking 3,600 cars off the road each year. They are expected to cost residential ratepayers less than $1.40 per month while increasing the electricity bills of commercial and industrial customers by less than 1.4 percent a year, according to the commission. Combined, the pricetags of the projects total $2.09 billion. Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard requires production of 25% of electricity from renewables by 2020.