OCEAN CITY — While the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) last week did green light both proposed offshore wind projects off the coast of Ocean City, there will still be ample opportunities for resort officials to push for moving the proposed turbines further off the coast.
The PSC announced last Thursday it had approved both the US Wind project, which will put 62 turbines as close as 12-15 miles from the coast of the resort in its first phase, and Deepwater Wind’s Skipjack project, which is considerably smaller in scale at 15 turbines as close as 17-21 miles off the coast. The PSC announcement appeared on the surface to mean the two proposed wind farm projects off the resort’s coast had the green light to proceed, but in reality, the decision was just another step in what will likely be a long process before any turbines appear off the coast. Technically, the PSC awarded offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) to both developers, a point not lost on Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan this week.
“The PSC approval was for the projects’ acceptance into the state’s offshore energy program and its associated utility subsidy,” he said. “It was not a permit to actually construct either farm. Both projects must still go through an extensive permit process for the turbines, the cables connecting the turbines to the shore and the work on the shore itself.”