The move was a welcome surprise for renewable-energy advocates, who had expected the Maryland Public Service Commission to pick only one of the competing proposals to receive the subsidies, which are funded through increases in residential and commercial utility bills.
The only other offshore wind project in the country, located off the coast of Rhode Island, has five turbines.
The decision benefits US Wind Inc and Deepwater Wind's Skipjack Offshore Energy LLC, each of which will receive ORECs at a levelized price of United States dollars 131.93 (EUR 121.4) per MWh for a term of 20 years.
US Wind's proposal is to build 62 turbines between 12 and 15 nautical miles offshore to generate 248 megawatts.
Thanks to the scale of the project, the much-reduced costs of building wind farms, and improved efficiencies of the technology, Gemini's owners anticipate that it will lead to a significant reduction in the price of this source of renewable energy.
US Wind officials say that Baltimore and Maryland's lower Eastern Shore are particularly well-positioned to enjoy the economic benefits of bringing a vibrant new offshore wind industry to Maryland.
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The Maryland General Assembly approved a regulatory framework for offshore wind in 2013, after repeated efforts by then-Gov.
The commission also says the projects are expected to create nearly 9,700 new direct and indirect jobs and contribute $74 million in state tax revenues over 20 years. "Offshore wind projects are a crucial part of America's energy future".
As a result the commission said it was placing the turbines the furthest out from the shoreline as possible.
"This decision cements Maryland as a first-mover - we will now be the epicenter of this exciting new industry for decades to come", said Paul Rich, director of project development for US Wind. The companies must use port facilities in the greater Baltimore region and Ocean City for construction and operations and maintenance (O&M) activities, and invest at least a combined Dollars 76 million in a local steel fabrication plant, while also financing not less than USD 39.6 million to support port upgrades at the Tradepoint Atlantic.
Together, the two projects are seen yielding over Dollars 1.8 billion of in-state spending. The developers must invest collectively at least US$76 million in a steel fabrication plant in Maryland and together fund at least US$39.6 million to support port upgrades at the Tradepoint Atlantic (formerly Sparrows Point) shipyard in Baltimore County.
I believe this decision creates tremendous opportunities for Maryland.