Maryland’s Race Foe Offshore Wind

The current population of Maryland is approximately 6.11 million people. In December 2018, state utilities used nuclear energy (40.3%), natural gas (29.5%), coal (17.2%) and renewable energy (13.0%) to generate electricity. Hydropower is the primary source of renewable energy in Maryland.

Maryland’s reliance on nuclear energy and coal contributes to state’s above average electricity costs. In December 2018, the average cost of electricity in Maryland was U.S. 13.2 ¢ per kWh, which is the 15th most expensive price in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States is 12.5 ¢ per kWh. Concerns over climate change have prompted state leaders to make the development of new renewable energy projects a priority.

Maryland state legislators have passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA). The bill mandates that state utilities achieve a 50% renewable energy goal by 2030. The bill mandates the doubling of the state’s current offshore wind commitment. The CEJA also requires the state to explore methods to achieve 100% zero carbon emissions by 2040. The bill now goes to Governor Larry Hogan for final approval.

In 2017, Maryland legislators approved offshore renewable energy credits for the Skipjack and MarWin offshore wind farm projects. Ørsted is developing the 120 MW capacity Skipjack project and US Wind are developing the 270 MW MarWin project. The two offshore wind projects are forecast to be completed by 2022.

States along the eastern seaboard are in a race to develop offshore wind energy. Why? Economics pure and simple. Numerous, major offshore wind projects are being planned from Massachusetts to Virginia. States are looking for their ports to become the major operational hubs to support the new offshore wind farms. The offshore wind farms will also replace outdated, expensive coal-fueled power plants.

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