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Offshore wind a 'mixed bag': University of Maryland study
Date:10/21/2010

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Offshore wind power offers a feasible way for Maryland to help meet its renewable energy goals, but presents some economic and political hurdles, concludes a new study by the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER).

The study, "Maryland Offshore Wind Development," is the most in-depth feasibility assessment to date of developing and operating wind farms in Maryland's Atlantic coastal waters, the researchers say.

Among the study's key findings, offshore wind development will have to address two serious hurdles to move forward:

  • Likely interference with the NASA Wallops radar installation, as well as military operations;
  • Inadequate transmission facilities on Maryland's Eastern Shore that would raise the cost of moving the energy produced to the utility grids; this could be accomplished most economically in Delaware.

"Offshore wind is not a slam dunk for Maryland, but the potential remains very strong," says principal investigator Matthias Ruth, a University of Maryland public policy professor and CIER director. "It's economically feasible and environmentally advantageous, but will require some tough trade-offs, compromise and collaboration between public and private sectors."

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Last spring, Maryland officials notified the U.S. Department of Interior of potential interest in wind turbine development in federal waters (12 to 40 miles) off the Maryland coast, the researchers explain.

Subsequently, the Maryland Energy Administration, with input from the Department of Natural Resources, commissioned the CIER study, including an economic comparison of the relative merits of shallow vs. deep water locations for the turbines.

Ruth adds that recent developments since the report's completion may add to the potential benefits
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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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