Offshore Wind for Maryland
The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 creates a mechanism to incentivize the development of up to 500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity, at least ten nautical miles off of Maryland's coast. A target project size of 200 MW would require the installation an estimated 40 turbines off the coast of Ocean City.
Development of offshore wind at this scale means:
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Based on a report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a major 200 MW project would create almost 850 manufacturing and construction jobs for 5 years and an additional 160 ongoing supply and O&M jobs thereafter. Additional projects, both in Maryland and in the region, would lead to a significant new sustainable industry for Maryland workers.
Clean, Renewable Power
A 200 MW offshore wind project will reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas, CO2, by over 378,000 tons per year and promise improved public health outcomes, cleaner air and cleaner water.
The Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that Maryland get 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022.
Significant Economic Impact
Based on a regional employment model analysis by the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, the total economic impact of offshore
wind over five years is almost $1.3 billion, with $5.6 million in additional state tax revenues. This figure
includes direct and indirect effects.
During the period from 1999 to 2009, energy costs to Maryland ratepayers roughly doubled. While offshore wind capital costs are high compared to traditional fossil fuel generation, the fuel cost is zero, rendering the operational costs competitive.
Early investments in land-based wind have helped drive down costs to the point that land-based wind energy is often cheaper than fossil fuels, and in many parts of the country wind energy is keeping electricity prices down for ratepayers. Similar investments in offshore wind will help make Maryland's electricity supply more environmentally and economically sustainable.
Maryland imports approximately 30% of the electricity we consume every year.
This leads to significant transmission congestion and high line losses, which raises rates for Maryland ratepayers. Maryland currently exports about 90% of its non-solar renewable dollars out of state.
A 200 MW project would supply enough electricity to power a third of the homes on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, or almost a quarter of the homes in Baltimore City.
A Healthier Economy
Recent data from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) suggest that health impacts caused by burning fossil fuels for electricity cost the average Maryland household almost $73 per month, creating a drag on Maryland’s economy.
A 200 MW project would save Maryland’s economy over $17 million per year in public health costs, according to the NAS report, and perhaps as much as $65 million per year according to an independent analysis by Dr. Jonathan Levy of Boston University School of Public Health.
A range of 40-70 turbines have been proposed, east of Maryland's shoreline.Map of MD's WInd Energy Area >