Maryland Offshore Wind Project Gets Boost from Feds

John Davis

A proposed massive wind farm off the coast of Maryland got a big boost this week when the federal government issued both a Request for Interest (RFI) and a map of an offshore wind leasing area in federal waters just off Maryland’s Atlantic coast.

The Dispatch of Ocean City (MD) reports
that Maryland is just the second state in the country to get the feds to make these commitments for an offshore wind project:

Essentially, the announcement this week means the federal government will solicit requests for interest from the private sector for leasing the vast area off the coast of Ocean City identified in the map, which was also issued this week. The western edge, or landward most edge, of the RFI area proposed for wind generation is roughly 10 miles from the Ocean City shoreline, while the eastern edge is approximately 27 miles from the coast.

While the RFI could solicit interest from one or more private sector groups hoping to develop a wind farm off Maryland’s coast, one company, NRG Bluewater Wind, based in New Jersey, has already taken the lead on wind energy development in the mid-Atlantic and has a wind farm up and running off the coast of New Jersey. NRG Bluewater Wind has a project planned in Delaware that further along in the planning and approval process than a tentative plan proposed in Maryland. NRG Bluewater Communications Manager David Gaier said yesterday the announcement in Maryland represents a significant step in the process.

“We’re certainly pleased about it,” he said. “We’re pleased the federal government has issued an RFI and we’re going to respond. We think it shows the mid-Atlantic states and the federal government are serious about supporting and moving forward with offshore wind farms off the mid-Atlantic coast. We’re eager to participate.”

Maryland officials want that state to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022.