Offshore wind turbines proposed for Maryland

Two companies submit bids to install up to 187 turbines with composite blades up to 73.5m in length.

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Deepwater Wind (Providence, RI, US) and US Wind (Baltimore, MD, US), a subsidiary of Renexia S.p.A. (Chieti, Italy), have submitted bids for the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the US.

Deepwater Wind is the developer of the five-turbine 30 MW farm off Block Island, RI that is scheduled to begin operation this winter, and the 90 MW South Fork Wind Farm 30 miles east of Montauk, NY that is slated to become operational in 2022. For Maryland, Deepwater Wind has proposed the 120 MW Skipjack Wind Farm — 20 turbines if they stay with the Heliade 6 MW turbines made by Alstom, now GE  — to be located 17 mi northeast of Ocean City, MD. If approved, construction could begin as early as 2020, with operations projected to start in 2022.

US Wind is proposing a 750 MW farm, which reportedly would comprise up to 187 turbines 12 miles offshore from Ocean City and provide power for more than 500,000 Maryland homes. US Wind also holds a lease in the New Jersey Wind Energy Area, seven miles off the coast of Atlantic City, and has responded to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) indicating interest in acquiring a commercial wind lease in one of four areas off the coast of South Carolina.

The Deepwater Wind and US Wind proposals are being considered by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) during a 180-day period, which began on November 28.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC, Brussels, Belgium), more than 91% (11 GW) of the world’s offshore wind power is currently installed off northern Europe, in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas, and the English Channel. Installed capacity in European waters is expected to reach 23.5 GW by 2020.