Chesapeake PSR

Maryland set to become an offshore wind leader

Climate Change and EnergyLydia SullivanComment

Maryland could soon become a leader in offshore wind. In 2013, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the Maryland Offshore Energy Act. The act contains a number of provisions for a “qualified offshore wind project” and creates a carve-out for offshore wind energy in Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS), beginning in 2017 and extending beyond 2022, for up to 2.5 percent of total retail sales.

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently accepting offshore wind applications through August 23, 2016. The commission will hold hearings and must approve or deny applications within 180 days after the close of the application period.

Chesapeake PSR's goal is to make sure offshore wind energy becomes a critical part of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the health impacts of climate change. According to a recent report by Synapse Energy Economics, a 200 megawatt (MW) offshore wind farm in Maryland would "result in $75 million in benefits from avoided mortality due to reduced SO2 and NOx emissions, as well as the climate benefits from reduced carbon pollution."

And that would be just the beginning. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that Maryland’s offshore wind potential is 53,782 MW, while the United States has over 4,000 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind potential, enough to power the country four times over.  

That is a lot of power - and a lot of health benefit.

Why Maryland must move quickly to secure offshore wind energy: Download a PowerPoint presentation by Alfred Bartlett, MD, co-lead of Chesapeake PSR's Climate Health Action Team.

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