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Maryland makes a play for the offshore wind crown

Maryland makes a play for the offshore wind crown
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The Maryland Public Service Commission greenlit two projects yesterday that put the state at the forefront of U.S. offshore wind development.

The commission approved offshore renewable energy credits for 368 megawatts of capacity spread across two projects, proposed by U.S. Wind and a subsidiary of Deepwater Wind. The move will allow the financing of both projects to move forward.

Offshore wind development has already made important progress in Rhode Island and New York, while Maryland joins Massachusetts as states developing their offshore resources under Republican governors.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recently said offshore wind is “one tool in the all-of-the-above energy toolbox that will help power America with domestic energy, securing energy independence, and bolstering the economy.”

Looking at the economic benefits of just these two Maryland projects makes it clear why leaders on both sides of the aisle recognize the value of offshore wind energy. They will create 9,700 new direct and indirect jobs, on top of adding $74 million to Maryland’s tax revenue over the next two decades.

Here’s a look at what others are saying about today’s news:

  • “The ‘all-in’ approach to offshore wind that we undertake today signals to our neighbors and the world that Maryland is ready to serve as a regional hub and a substantial base for additional offshore wind development up and down the East Coast, thus yielding sustained job growth for many years to come. – Maryland Public Service Commission
  • Maryland no longer stands at the doorstep of ushering in this new industry; it has stepped over the threshold. The award of these projects is the launching point for great economic growth for Maryland: its businesses and its citizens. — Liz Burdock, executive director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind
  • I believe this decision creates tremendous opportunities for Maryland. It enables us to meet our clean, renewable energy goals using energy generated within the state while conditioning our approval on holding project developers to their promises of creating jobs and spurring economic growth. We have also acted to keep costs as low as possible in order to maximize the investment and benefit for Maryland’s electric customers. — Commissioner Michael T. Richard
  • If built, these wind farms will be truly pioneering facilities, leading Maryland and the nation toward a 21st Century economy that combats climate change and creates jobs in droves at the same time. —Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
  • For those of us in the industry, it is truly a historic watershed moment to have this decision. We’re ready to get to work. — Paul Rich, director of project development for U.S. Wind
  • We are very excited about today’s development. We believe it represents a step forward in proving offshore wind as a means of renewable power generation, but also in delivering a new industry to the state of Maryland that has potential to create meaningful manufacturing and logistics jobs. — Aaron Tomarchio, vice president of corporate affairs, Tradepoint
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Andrew Gohn is the Eastern Region Director on AWEA’s State Policy team. Before joining AWEA, he spent six years at the Maryland Energy Administration, advancing wind energy development in the state. He worked to develop and enact the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, as well as several major legislative and administrative efforts that supported deployment of the state’s first 180 MW of wind power. Prior to working for Maryland, Andrew interned at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and spent time developing environmental policy in the office of Sen. Ben Cardin. He received a law degree from University of Maryland in 2009 and remains a member of the Maryland bar in good standing.

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