Deepwater Wind seeks Maryland OK for offshore wind project

Offshore Wind

Skipjack Offshore Energy applied Nov. 30 with the Maryland Public Service Commission for approval of a 120 MW wind project that would qualify for a Maryland set-aside program for offshore wind energy.

The Skipjack Wind Farm is designed to help the state of Maryland meet its clean energy needs. while satisfying the requirements of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 (the "2013 MD OSW Act").

At 120 MW, the application said the Skipjack Wind Farm will be less than half the size authorized under the legislation and will have a unit energy price that is far less than allowed by the legislation — resulting in far lower costs to ratepayers than predicted by the previous administration.

This offshore wind farm is to be located more than 17 nautical miles off the coast of Maryland and interconnecting with the existing Delmarva Power and Light 138-kV transmission system in Ocean City, Md. The Skipjack Wind Farm will be located in the offshore wind energy area designated by the Department of Interior as block OCS-A 0482.

If Skipjack receives a fully-approved, un-appealable order from the Maryland PSC by March 30, 2017, the Skipjack Wind Farm will be in-service by the end of 2022.

Skipjack is a unit of Deepwater Wind Holdings (together with its affiliates and subsidiaries referred to as "Deepwater Wind"). Deepwater Wind — America's leading developer of offshore wind — is uniquely capable of delivering this important project for the state of Maryland, the application said.

The company is led by a veteran management team with an average of over 20 years of relevant experience. Deepwater Wind is well capitalized with funding from the D. E. Shaw group, a global investment and technology firm with $38 billion in investment capital as of July 1, 2016.

Deepwater is the developer and owner-operator of the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) — a 30-MW offshore wind farm located 19 miles off the coast of Rhode Island that will be the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. when it begins operating around now. Deepwater Wind has managed every element of the BIWF project from concept through construction. Deepwater Wind is also the developer of the South Fork Wind Farm (SFWF) — a proposed 90-MW offshore project designed to serve the capacity-constrained South Fork of Long Island.

The Skipjack Wind Farm project will be constructed using commercially proven components and equipment, including 8 MW-class offshore wind turbines, monopile foundations as well as standard 34.5 kV and 138 kV AC electrical collection and transmission equipment.

Skipjack plans to commence offshore and onshore surveys and will submit permit applications by mid 2018. It anticipates receiving permits by mid 2020, which will facilitate achieving financial close by early 2021. Long lead-time equipment orders will be placed and fabrication will begin in early 2021 following financial close. Offshore installation and commissioning will take place in 2022.

An affiliate of Skipjack has executed an Assignment and Assumption agreement under which it has purchased BOEM Lease OCS-A 0482 from its previous owner, Bluewater Wind Delaware LLC, a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of NRG Energy. Deepwater and NRG have initiated the lease assignment process with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

On Feb. 25 of this year, the Maryland PSC had commenced the Maryland Offshore Wind Project Application Period after a determination by the commission’s independent consultant that a first potential offshore wind application had been received and deemed administratively complete. Following the close of the application period on Nov. 18, the commission’s independent consultant provided notice that two OSW project applications were received from:

·      U.S. Wind Inc., a unit of Toto Holding SpA

·      Skipjack Offshore

Upon a review of the applications, the commission’s independent consultant determined that both projects were administratively complete. The commission in a Nov. 22 order officially commenced a review docket for the applications. Both applicants were directed to file the public and confidential versions of their OSW project applications in this docket by Nov. 30. A prehearing conference in this matter has been set for Dec. 14.

U.S. Wind applied Nov. 30 to the Maryland commission for approval to develop a 750-MW wind farm project off the coast of Maryland.

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