Researchers Study Maryland’s Offshore Wind Potential

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Researchers at the University of Delaware's Center for Carbon-free Power Integration have conducted a study of Maryland's offshore wind power potential for the Abell Foundation.

The results of this study indicate that Maryland's offshore wind resource is large enough to supply the state with 67% of its electric needs, even if only existing offshore wind power technology were to be used. Offshore wind could provide 179% of the state's electricity needs – therefore, surpassing the state's demand – as the industry matures and deeper-water technologies become commercialized.Â

Maryland's Legislature passed a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires all state utilities and competitive retail suppliers to obtain an increasing percentage of their electric power from renewable energy sources. By 2022, 22.5% of retail sales must be sourced from renewables, 18% of which can be from wind energy. The amount of capacity needed to fulfill the portion of Maryland's RPS that can be satisfied by offshore wind energy is 3,900 MW.Â

Building out Maryland's offshore wind potential could benefit the state's economy for offshore construction, maintenance, supply chain, and/or turbine manufacturing, according to the study. Â

In addition, with manufacturing anywhere in the region, some sourcing of wind turbine components would likely be from Maryland's manufacturing sector. In contrast, continuing to buy fossil electricity from the market, delivered from distant fossil power plants, will not meet environmental goals and is unlikely to have any beneficial effect on the Maryland economy, the study says.Â

Moreover, the Delaware Bluewater Wind Project bid and power purchase agreement suggests that large-scale, offshore wind projects can be cost-competitive with new fossil-fuel generation after accounting for future fossil-fuel prices, likely costs to emit carbon into the atmosphere and other factors.Â

SOURCE: The Abell Foundation�

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