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Offshore wind a 'mixed bag': University of Maryland study

of offshore wind:

  • Uncertainty surrounding development of a new nuclear reactor in Calvert County (Calvert Cliffs), which he says makes it more important to consider other potential renewable sources of electric power, including offshore wind.
  • Proposal by a Google-led investment group could enhance prospects for distributing electricity generated by Maryland offshore wind farms, he says. The Google group would create a transmission network connecting such facilities at various points along the eastern seaboard.


"The technology is known and proven, especially in Europe, to be clean and cost-effective," Ruth concludes. "Compared to any alternative, this is a low risk addition to our energy portfolio."

"The impediments are not technical, they are institutional," adds co-investigator Andrew Blohm, a CIER researcher. Ultimately, overcoming the hurdles will require close collaboration between Maryland, Delaware and the federal government."


Meeting State Energy Targets: The study finds that offshore wind holds the potential to help Maryland meet both expected increases in electricity demand and renewable energy targets set by the legislature six years ago. Under these standards, one-fifth of the electricity sold in the state by 2022 must come from renewable sources.

"Not only would offshore wind development help Maryland meet its renewable energy goals, but it would also provide ancillary benefits, such as jobs and industry development, and further position the state as an environmental first mover," Ruth says.

Interconnecting with the Utility Grid: Delivering energy produced by wind turbines in Maryland waters to the electric utility grid could be accomplished most economically in Delaware. Previous studies found that connecting to the grid near Ocean City, Md. would cost an estimated ten times more than at Bethany Beach, De. - ab

Contact: Neil Tickner
University of Maryland

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