Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley Introduces Third Proposal for Offshore Wind Energy Production
If Governor O'Malley's latest proposal for offshore wind energy development passes, the Maryland Public Service Commission will be required to promulgate regulations to implement the legislation and oversee the application process for qualified projects.
Governor Martin O'Malley introduced his third proposal for offshore wind energy production to the Maryland legislature on January 22, 2013. The bill aims to help develop wind power between 10 and 30 miles off the shore of Ocean City and has numerous co-sponsors in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly, including a majority in the Senate. While similar legislation stalled in the last two regular sessions of the Maryland General Assembly, this year the Senate Finance Committee was reconfigured, a change that many believe will allow the bill to finally advance to the floor and be debated by the full Senate where reports indicate the bill has sufficient support for passage.
If the bill passes in its original form, electricity suppliers will be required to purchase a certain number of offshore wind renewable energy credits, or "ORECs." The ORECs are to support approximately 200 megawatts of offshore wind generation. The Maryland Public Service Commission will be responsible for overseeing the process of evaluating, comparing, and ultimately approving or denying applications for proposed offshore wind projects. After the Commission adopts regulations implementing the new law, an offshore wind developer may submit an application for approval of a qualified project. Upon receipt, the Commission will then open an application period of no less than 90 days during which other interested parties may submit applications.
All applications must include a detailed description and financial analysis of the project, a cost-benefit analysis, and a commitment to deposit at least $6,000,000 into the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund among other things. The Commission will then have 180 days from the close of the application period to either approve, conditionally approve, or deny each project. The Commission will also be required to determine the offshore wind energy component of the renewable energy portfolio standard and to establish the OREC pricing schedule for each approved project.