U.S. Wind seeks Maryland approval for 750-MW offshore project

U.S. Wind Inc. applied Nov. 30 to the Maryland Public Service Commission for approval to develop a 750-MW wind farm project off the coast of Maryland, and is also seeking offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) for approximately 248 MW of the project.

In April 2013, the State of Maryland enacted the Offshore Energy Act of 2013 which, among other measures:

  • created a “carve-out” for offshore wind energy in Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard;
  • established an application and review process for proposed offshore wind projects to be conducted by the commission; and
  • specified a maximum price and maximum rate impacts for residential and non-residential electric customers resulting from energy generated by an offshore wind project.

To be eligible to receive ORECs, a project must be: located on the outer continental shelf (OCS) between 10 and 30 miles off the Maryland coast, in a wind energy area (WEA) that is designated for leasing by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM); able to interconnect to the PJM Interconnection grid at a point located on the Delmarva peninsula; and approved by the Maryland commission.

The WEA for this project covers an area approximately 80,000 acres in size and is located at its closest point at about 12 nautical miles east of Ocean City, Maryland, on the OCS. The applicant secured development rights to the WEA through a competitive auction process conducted by BOEM in August 2014. As part of the auction process, it paid $8.7 million for the development rights, and to date, the company has invested a total of $17 million in the project.

Over its 20-year service life, the project will generate over 5,700 jobs during its three phases, i.e., development, construction, and operation and maintenance (O&M), and will generate approximately $4.1 billion of new gross state product impacts to state revenue, expressed in 2015 dollar figures.

U.S. Wind was incorporated in Massachusetts for the purpose of developing this project and similar wind projects in the United States. The company is a fully-owned subsidiary of Renexia S.p.A., a joint stock company incorporated under the laws of Italy. Renexia has over five years of experience developing renewable energy projects around the world. In addition to this project, Renexia is developing or has developed over 450 MW worth of wind projects in Europe and Africa. Toto Holding, the parent company of Renexia, includes several subsidiaries and began as a construction company, Toto Construction, over 40 years ago.

U.S. Wind executives include:

  • Riccardo Toto, President of U.S. Wind, who has over 15 years of complex heavy construction experience in the European market;
  • Paolo Sammartino, Vice President of U.S. Wind, who has extensive experience in renewable energy project development and led U.S. Wind’s team in the successful federal lease auction process for the project’s underwater lands lease with BOEM. He has successfully developed over 50 MW of installed renewable power generation in the greater European market.
  • Paul Rich, who serves as the Director of Project Development. He has overseen almost 700 MW of installed renewable power projects in the United States. Most recently, he was the Development Officer for Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW Block Island Project, which is the first offshore wind farm to begin construction in this country. 

The project consists of 187 Siemens 4-MW wind turbine generators, of which 62 will be assigned to the OREC portion of the project. The project is planned to begin service in 2020. The company said it will employ an “EPC” (engineering, procurement, and construction) approach to the construction phase. U.S. Wind filed for and received in September 2015 two queue positions from PJM Interconnection: queue #AB1-056 Indian River I and queue #AB1-057 Indian River II.

A project contact is: Paul Rich, Director, Project Development, 1 North Charles Street, Suite 2310, MD 21201, telephone 207-319-5131, p.rich@usWindmaryland.com.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.