US Wind Inc., a Baltimore-based offshore wind development company, has commenced a marine survey to prepare the final layout design for an 80,000-acre project off the coast of Ocean City, Md.
US Wind contracted with Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey Inc. to conduct data collection along the 35-mile route from the project site through Indian River Bay to a power plant near Millsboro, Del.
The Shearwater, Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey’s vessel, will take sediment core samples at 36 locations along the route to test the composition of the sediment to ensure it is safe for the power cable, says US Wind, which expects the work to take approximately two weeks.
“This is a significant milestone in our effort to bring offshore wind – and its many benefits – to Maryland,” says Paul Rich, director of project development for US Wind. “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 comprise 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.
US Wind also says the Maryland offshore wind project will 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,” explains 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.”