US Wind, Inc., an offshore wind development corporation, announced the start of a marine survey to prepare the final layout design for an 80,000-acre wind-power project off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland.
US Wind contracted with Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey, and their vessel R/V Shearwater, to conduct data collection along the 35-mile route from the project site through Indian River Bay to a power plant near Millsboro, Delaware. The Shearwater will take sediment core samples at 36 locations along the route to test the composition of the sediment and ensure it is safe for the power cable. This work is expected to take approximately two weeks.
“This is a significant milestone in our effort to bring offshore wind – and its many benefits – to Maryland,” said Paul Rich, Director of Project Development for US Wind, Inc. “Over the coming months, we will be undertaking more activities to ensure the success of this project and position Maryland as the East Coast hub for the booming offshore wind industry.”
According to US Wind, Maryland is poised to develop the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm. The 750-MW project would construct up to 187 turbines and produce power for more than 500,000 homes. In addition to the marine survey, upcoming activities include constructing and installing a meteorological station to assess weather conditions at the site.
Economic forecasts show that the project will create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of well-paying, long-term jobs. “As the ‘first mover’ for this new American industry, Maryland will become the epicenter of the industry and East Coast hub for offshore wind economic activity – providing us a new, robust industry for a generation,” said Rich. “This will bring much-needed jobs to Eastern Shore areas that really need them.”
US Wind experts say that the Maryland offshore wind project will also help alleviate a long-standing electric power deficiency on the Eastern Shore. Because Maryland imports much of its electricity, the Maryland Energy Administration estimates Marylanders pay approximately $250 million per year in “congestion fees” bundled in their monthly utility bills.
“Injecting 750 MW of new power into the Eastern Shore grid will significantly help alleviate this electricity imbalance, and reduce or eliminate much of this hidden tax,” said Rich. “Maryland ratepayers are projected to see a net decrease of $2 or more in their monthly bills as a result of US Wind’s project.”