MD approves nation's largest-scale offshore wind farms
- The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved plans for what will be the largest offshore wind farms in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. The two projects are expected to cost between $1.4 billion and $2 billion.
- The PSC awarded US Wind of Baltimore and Skipjack Offshore Energy renewable energy credits for each of the company's projects, which permits them to build a total of up to 368 megawatts of capacity.
- The two projects, which still must win federal approval, are expected to generate approximately 9,700 new direct and indirect jobs and add a total of $74 million in tax revenues to state coffers over 20 years. Both projects will be offshore from Ocean City, MD, according to The Baltimore Sun.
There is an onshore component to the proposal as well, including investment in port facilities in the Baltimore area and Ocean City, MD. Developers will invest at least $76 million in a steel fabrication plant in Maryland and almost $40 million in upgrades at a Baltimore County shipyard.
Construction of renewable energy sources has become a burgeoning sector within the industry. Mortenson, for example, a big player in the wind energy sector, has said that since its renewable energy sector's first project in 1995, the segment has become one of its top performers.
Xcel Energy announced in March that it will build a 300-turbine farm in Colorado for $1 billion. The project, which is Mortenson's biggest wind project so far, will be the largest single-phase facility in North America and will generate 600 megawatts of electricity.
However, wind farms don't have to be so mammoth to be beneficial. Tom Wacker, chief operating officer of Mortenson, told Construction Dive last month that the company has constructed a farm with as few as five turbines, which he said proves that they can be built almost anywhere.
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