Despite continued delays for its first proposed wind farm off Delaware’s coast, Danish-based Ørsted has submitted a bid to increase the size of that wind farm sixfold.
In an announcement July 7, Ørsted said it submitted a bid to the Maryland Public Service Commission to develop Skipjack Wind 2, a proposed project of up to 760 megawatts in federal waters due east of Delaware’s beaches. The company’s Skipjack Wind 1, expected to produced 120 megawatts, is currently in the development phase.
According to Ørsted, the recent bid is in response to the commission’s call for proposals for Round 2 offshore wind projects. The commission can award at least 1,200 megawatts of Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits. The new project is expected to power over 250,000 Delmarva homes.
Skipjack Wind 1 is scheduled to be operational by the second quarter of 2026. The project was awarded to Ørsted in May 2017, during Maryland’s first offshore wind solicitation. According to Ørsted, Skipjack Wind 1 will create approximately 1,400 jobs and spur at least $200 million in Maryland, while generating enough clean energy to power 40,000 homes in the region.
“Ørsted is privileged to already be a long-term partner to the state of Maryland as it works to meet its offshore wind goals,” said David Hardy, Ørsted Offshore North America CEO, in a prepared statement. “We are proud to build, own, and operate wind farms across the world and will bring that same approach to Maryland.”
Ørsted operates 28 offshore wind farms globally including Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, and the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind, a two-turbine pilot project that’s the first turbines to be installed in federal waters.
It’s unknown if Ørsted’s bid is facing any competition.
Tori Leonard, Maryland Public Service Commission spokesperson, said the application period for this round of offshore wind projects closed June 21. She said the public service commission’s consultant for the review process had 30 days to review applications for administrative completeness before presenting a summary to the commission. Until then, said Leonard in a July 8 email, the bids are confidential.
Leonard said the deadline for the public service commission to make a decision is 180 days from June 21.
It’s also still unknown where Skipjack Wind 1 will come ashore to connect to the power grid. In the fall of 2019, the wind power company and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control faced public backlash after revealing plans for a connection site in Fenwick Island State Park in exchange for more than $10 million in improvements to the park. Roughly six months later, Ørsted announced it was no longer pursuing the construction of the wind farm’s acre-sized interconnection facility within the state park.
In an email July 8, Brady Walker, Ørsted's Mid-Atlantic Market Manager, said “Ørsted is continuing a comprehensive evaluation of viable options and looks forward to engaging local stakeholders on landfall and interconnection before any final decisions are made.”
More information on the bid and the commission’s requirements, can be found at mdoffshorewindapp.com. Click on the Round 2 application period link under ‘Event’ for documents and other info. The technical conference slideshow is a really good summary of the process, said Leonard.