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MEA eyes offshore wind farms

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) launched a new initiative  last week that will explore the potential for developing wind energy resources off of the coast of Maryland. According to estimates from the U.S. Energy Department, Maryland has "outstanding" wind resources, rivaling or exceeding those of Midwestern land based wind resources. The agency plans to evaluate the potential of these resources for commercial development.
MEA's offshore wind initiative will include outreach to potential offshore wind developers, a technical evaluation of the wind resources off of Maryland's Atlantic coast and Outer Continental Shelf, and strong engagement with the local community.

"Offshore wind energy offers vast potential to create jobs for our workers and to help stabilize electric costs for our families while also increasing grid stability," says Gov. Martin O'Malley. "As we continue our commitment to promote a Smart, Green and Growing Maryland, the benefits of the clean energy generated from offshore wind may prove to be vital for our State's energy and environmental future."

The MEA, as part of the initiative, issued a Request for Expression of Information and Interest in order to bring business and industry leaders with expertise in the installation and development of offshore wind energy into the project. The request extends to U.S. and European developers interested in starting a constructive dialogue on strategies for facilitating a long-term offshore wind energy strategy for the state.

Meanwhile, the agency is also launching a study that will evaluate opportunities for offshore wind energy on Maryland's Atlantic coast and Outer Continental Shelf. The study will assess the viability of offshore wind energy generation and build on marine spatial planning work currently being developed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy. The results will help guide the state, Maryland residents, and potential wind energy development partners, providing guidance on the physical characteristics of Maryland's offshore resources.

"Offshore wind has the potential to supply more renewable energy than any other resource in the region," noted MEA Director Malcolm Woolf. "If Maryland is able to successfully harness these resources in a cost-effective way, the State will be able to satisfy its Renewable Portfolio Standard of 20 percent by 2022 and benefit from the growing Renewable Energy Credit market."

Source: Gov. Martin O'Malley, MEA
Writer: Walaika Haskins

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