Outpouring of Support for Offshore Wind at Maryland Public Hearing
Hundreds of Marylanders filled the Joint Hearing Room in Annapolis to capacity on Thursday night, as legislators, business leaders, labor groups, environmental organizations and concerned citizens gathered to support plans for Maryland’s offshore wind project. The public hearing was the second of two meetings scheduled by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), which is considering applications for the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits (OREC) created by the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013. The first meeting was held in Berlin, Md. on March 25.
Baltimore-based US Wind, Inc. plans to build a 750 Megawatt wind project off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The project would be the first large, utility-scale offshore wind project in the nation, and US Wind officials say it would enable Maryland to become the Atlantic coast hub of a new, promising industry. US Wind projects that full build-out of its project will bring 5,000 manufacturing jobs to Maryland and generate over $16 billion in net economic output over the life of its 750MW Maryland project.
Sixty-seven people spoke in favor of Maryland’s offshore wind plans at the hearing, including a bipartisan group of four state legislators. State Senator Johnny Ray Salling (District 6) and Delegates Dereck Davis (District 25), Sally Jameson (District 28) and Robbyn Lewis (District 46) all referenced the economic development potential and promise of well-paying jobs as reasons for the PSC to approve the wind energy credit.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh also submitted written testimony, specifically supporting US Wind’s application. “US Wind, Inc. has developed a feasible plan that offers a competitive advantage for a sustainable offshore wind industry in Maryland, and in particular Baltimore City,” she wrote.
In addition to elected officials, many business leaders, labor groups and environmental organizations spoke in favor of the wind energy credits. Groups speaking in favor included Maryland League of Women Voters, Ironworkers Local 16/5 (Baltimore), the Business Network for Offshore Wind, National Wildlife Federation, Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Maryland Sierra Club.
No one spoke in opposition at Monday’s hearing.
According to its website, the Maryland PSC must approve, conditionally approve or deny the proposed offshore wind project applications no later than May 17, 2017. Information on the applications may be viewed or downloaded on the Commission’s website at www.psc.state.md.us.
US Wind, Inc was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. US Wind is owned by Renexia S.p.A., a leader in renewable energy development in Italy and a subsidiary of Toto Holding Group. Toto Holding Group has more than 40 years of experience specializing in large infrastructure construction projects, rail transportation and aviation. www.USWindinc.com