On April 9, 2013, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the Maryland Offshore Energy Act of 2013 (House Bill 226), which took effect on June 1, 2013. The Act contains a number of provisions for a “qualified offshore wind project” that
- is located on the outer continental shelf, between 10 and 30 miles off the Maryland coast, in an area that is designated for leasing by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management within the U.S. Department of the Interior,
- interconnects to the PJM Interconnection grid at a point located on the Delmarva peninsula, and
- is approved by the Public Service Commission (“Commission”).
Among its key provisions, the Act:
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- Creates a “carve-out” for offshore wind energy in Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, beginning in 2017 and extending beyond 2022, for up to 2.5% of total retail sales.
- Establishes an application and review process for proposed offshore wind projects to be conducted by the Public Service Commission.
- Specifies a maximum price and maximum projected rate impacts for residential and nonresidential electric customers.
- Establishes a Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund and Advisory Committee within the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to promote emerging businesses related to offshore wind.
- Establishes a Clean Energy Program Task Force and a Clean Energy Technical Education Task Force.
- Establishes an escrow account to ensure the transparent transfer of Offshore Renewable Energy Credits (“ORECs”) between offshore wind generators and electric suppliers.
In response to the Maryland Offshore Energy Act of 2013, the Commission initiated Rulemaking 51 to adopt revisions to the Code of Maryland Regulations (“COMAR”) 20.51 and 20.61. Commission Staff, with the aid of outside legal, commercial, and technical consultants, submitted recommendations regarding offshore wind project application requirements, evaluation criteria, and selection processes that were presented to the Commission in hearings on May 8 and 12, 2014. The Commission also heard testimony with recommendations from interested parties. The Commission convened another Rulemaking 51 hearing on August 26, 2014 to hear additional testimony and resolve remaining questions. At the conclusion of that hearing, the Commission adopted the Offshore Wind regulations as published in the Maryland Register on July 11, 2014 (COMAR 20.51.01, 02, and 03; COMAR 20.61.01, 04, and 06).
The Commission has commenced the process to receive and evaluate offshore wind project applications and to select a project (or projects) to purchase ORECs for Maryland ratepayers. To assist in this effort, the Commission has retained Levitan & Associates, Inc., who designed this website to (i) disseminate documents and other information to potential bidders and other interested parties, (ii) facilitate answering questions and exchanging information with bidders and other interested parties, and (iii) provide secure portals for bidders to submit confidential applications, including OREC Price Schedules.
News and Highlights
- The Maryland Public Service Commission held a pre-hearing conference in Case No. 9431 for a Proposed Offshore Wind Project(s) and issued Procedural Order No. 87945 on December 16, 2016 that lays out the dates for the upcoming proceedings and resolves several preliminary matters. The Order can be found here.
- The Maryland PSC announced that two offshore wind project applications were submitted, found to be administratively complete, and found to have met the minimum threshold criteria. The applicants are (i) US Wind, Inc., a subsidiary of Toto Holding SpA, and (ii) Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of Deepwater Wind Holdings, LLC. The Maryland PSC announced a docketed proceeding to conduct a multipart review to evaluate and compare the applications.
- The Maryland PSC has extended the Application Period for Offshore Wind Projects for twenty-eight days beyond the extended October 21, 2016 deadline to the close of business on November 18, 2016, unless further extended. See the notice of third extension for more details.
- On February 24, 2016, LAI submitted a letter notifying the MPSC that the first application for a proposed Offshore Wind Project was determined to be administratively complete. On September 22, 2016, LAI submitted another letter notifying the MPSC that a second application was determined to be administratively complete.