Kentish flats wind power farm, in sunset -
Photo by Vattenfall

Offshore Wind in Maryland

Maryland has committed to getting 20% of the State’s electricity from renewable sources by 2022. To meet this goal, Maryland agencies began planning for offshore wind in 2009. Since that time, the State has worked to analyze existing natural resources data and acquire new data to help understand and avoid potential impacts. State agencies have also actively engaged with stakeholders about ocean uses, natural resources and project development activities. Working with the U.S. Department of Interior, Maryland has identified an area 10 to 23 miles off the coast that is suitable for offshore wind turbines. This area holds the potential to supply 1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity – enough to power more than 400,000 homes.

Why Wind?

  • Within Maryland, approximately 65% energy generation is produced from fossil fuels; 29% from nuclear; and 6% from renewable sources1
  • As the population grows, ensuring that Marylanders have enough power to meet their needs is a top priority, but so is the stability and health of the environment
  • Maryland has “outstanding” offshore wind resources that rival or exceed Midwestern land-based wind resources2
  • Land-based renewable sources (e.g. solar, biomass, wind) will only meet 36% of the state’s renewable goal and offshore wind can help fill the gap3
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    1. http://energy.maryland.gov/energy101/index.html#mw
    2. U.S. Department of Energy
    3. Maryland Energy Administration
  • How could Maryland benefit?

    A 500 MW project would:

  • Supply enough electricity to power 79% of all the homes on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, or more than half of the homes in Baltimore City;
  • Create 2,000 manufacturing and construction jobs for 5 years and an additional 400 ongoing supply and Operating & Management jobs thereafter;
  • Have a total economic impact of more than $1.9 billion over five years, including $14 million in state tax revenues; and reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas, CO2, by 945,000 tons per year; and
  • Improve public health outcomes, cleaner air and cleaner water.
  • Maryland DNR is interested in your feedback. Please visit our public comment forum to share your thoughts.

    http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/ccs/coastal_resources/oceancomments.asp

    The State's Role and Stakeholder Outreach Efforts

    Since 2009, DNR has been working with resource experts, user groups, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to compile data and information about habitats, human uses, and resources in Maryland’s Atlantic Ocean. Using the State’s foundation of ocean data and information, ocean planning tools were used to help identify areas most suitable for various types of activities in order to reduce conflict among uses, facilitate compatible uses, and reduce environmental impacts to preserve crucial ecosystem services. Offshore wind has the potential to be an ocean use that will require the State to balance multiple uses in the ocean. An ocean planning approach and mapping related to offshore wind was developed in Maryland to address this potential use.

    Using the results of this approach, Maryland was able to make recommendations to the Maryland Offshore Wind Task Force about the RFI map area for offshore wind. As a result, Maryland was able to provide guidance that will help avoid many natural resource and human use conflicts early on in the siting process.

    In response to a US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Request for Interest (RFI) published on November 9, 2010, nine indications of interest from eight parties were received wishing to obtain a commercial lease for a wind energy project in federal waters adjacent to Maryland's Atlantic Coast. BOEM initiated a review of these parties’ submissions to assess filing completeness; evaluate legal, technical, and financial qualifications to hold an OCS renewable energy commercial lease; and, determine competitive interest.

    From 2011 to present, Maryland has worked with partners to: advance the siting and leasing process; prepare and compile comments about potential environmental impacts; prepare and compile comments about associated offshore transmission proposals; advance state legislation supporting offshore wind development; evaluate state and regional issues associated with the development of offshore wind; and, finally, to support studies that advance our understanding of natural resources and geophysical characteristics off the coast to inform the siting and leasing process. DNR continues to work with stakeholders to map out uses, update the Coastal Atlas and utilize ocean planning tools to continue to inform the process.

    To address potential visual impacts along Maryland’s coast, DNR is working with Assateague State Park, MEA, the Governor’s Office and others to develop visualizations that display what offshore wind development in the State’s WEA might look like in clear and hazy conditions.

    Additional information can be found at the following locations:

    http://dnr.maryland.gov/ccs/coastal_resources/oceanplanning
    http://www.boemre.gov/offshore/RenewableEnergy/StateActivities-Maryland.htm


    Ocean Planning & Offshore Renewable Energy Virtual Open House

    Virtual Open House Two public open houses were hosted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Energy Administration in April 2010 to discuss the future of our ocean and to provide citizens an opportunity to learn about the State’s ocean mapping and planning efforts, with a focus on offshore renewable energy.