Maryland Approves Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Development

Last week, the Free State took a huge step forward in transitioning to clean, renewable sources of energy. The Maryland Public Service Commission awarded offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) to U.S. Wind, Inc. and Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC to construct 368 megawatts of offshore wind capacity creating the opportunity for the nation’s largest offshore wind development to date.

This exciting announcement follows nearly seven years of sustained effort by the National Wildlife Federation and partners like the Maryland Climate Coalition.  Working with a broad coalition of partners including local environmental, health, labor, business, faith, and student groups, the National Wildlife Federation championed the adoption of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 and has been working toward its implementation ever since.  The OREC order issued by the Maryland Public Service Commission was a pivotal step in making offshore wind a reality.   We join our Maryland partners – and offshore wind advocates along the coast – in celebrating this win for offshore wind.

Transitioning to responsible offshore wind is essential to reducing the greenhouse gas pollution fueling climate change, while maximizing the economic benefits from clean energy.  The offshore wind proposals approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission are expected to result in the creation of almost 9,700 new direct and indirect jobs and contribute $74 million in state tax revenues over 20 years.

These offshore wind projects will also help to ensure that Maryland reaches its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.  Climate change represents the most significant long-term threat to the survival of America’s wildlife and will require aggressive action both on reducing greenhouse gas pollution and adapting to and coping with the impacts already underway.

Jennifer Mihills, Mid-Atlantic Associate Director, National Wildlife Federation said:

“By harnessing the power of the wind blowing off our coast, Maryland is creating a clean energy future that protects wildlife and their habitats and our communities. Guided by strong conservation principles, offshore wind can be sited, constructed, and operated in a manner that is protective of our coastal and marine wildlife.”

The National Wildlife Federation and our partners look forward to continuing to work with offshore wind developers to ensure their projects protect wildlife and our treasured Atlantic Ocean ecosystem. If you are interested in receiving offshore wind updates please visit the Maryland Climate Coalition.

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s Offshore Wind program.

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