The Public Service Commission (PSC) granted Skipjack Offshore Energy and U.S. Wind offshore wind renewable energy credits Thursday enabling them to move forward with their proposals to build 368 megawatts of offshore wind, located off the coast of Ocean City and Delaware, and creating 9,700 jobs in the process. The approval of these projects puts Maryland in the running for the nation's largest offshore wind farms.
In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that paved the way for the state to launch its own offshore wind industry. Just last month, more than 250 people showed up to PSC hearings in Berlin and Annapolis, underscoring the widespread support of offshore wind across the state. Various environmental organizations are looking forward to continuing work with the developers to ensure wildlife is protected throughout the construction and operation of the projects.
"This is a monumental win for the economy and the environment in Maryland," David Smedick, Maryland Beyond Coal campaign and policy representative for the Sierra Club, said.
"The people have shown up and spoken out in support of offshore wind and now it's clear that the state is ready to move forward, too. We have been working to get offshore wind to Maryland for over five years, so this decision from the PSC is truly one of our biggest moments."
In addition to jumpstarting the East Coast's clean energy industry by bringing local jobs and economic development to the state, the inclusion of offshore wind in Maryland's energy production helps reduce the state's reliance on coal and other dirty fossil fuels, safeguarding our environment, saving ratepayers money and protecting health.
"With today's decision by the Public Service Commission, Maryland's clean energy future couldn't be brighter," said Susan Stevens Miller, staff attorney with Earthjustice's clean energy program.
"These projects will not only unlock a huge, untapped source of renewable energy, they will create thousands of new jobs in manufacturing and other sectors—all within earshot of President Trump's White House. The message from Maryland is clear—clean, renewable, job-creating energy is our future."