In May 2017, the Maryland Public Service Commission designated Deepwater Wind’s Skipjack Wind Farm a “Qualified Offshore Wind Project.”
Since that time, the company has been working to ensure that Skipjack will be a project that Marylanders can support. Located 20 miles northeast of Ocean City, the project will be over the horizon, meaning that it will be far enough away that it won’t have a significant impact on beach views from Maryland or Delaware, company officials point out.
Once operational, Skipjack, at 120 megawatts, will deliver enough renewable energy to power 35,000 Maryland homes.
Deepwater Wind plans to invest approximately $200 million in Maryland during Skipjack’s construction phase, including $25 million for a new steel fabrication facility and $13 million to make improvements to ports in the Baltimore area. Deepwater Wind also plans to establish the project’s permanent operations and maintenance facility in the Ocean City area, creating jobs over the project’s 25-year projected life.
This year, Deepwater Wind accelerating development of Skipjack with key local hires and several what it describes as “cutting-edge environmental surveys” that will guide the construction of the offshore wind farm. Deepwater named Joy Weber, of Annapolis, as Skipjack’s development manager to lead the project’s local development efforts, including building relationships with Maryland communities and companies. Weber most recently worked as a lawyer at a prominent Maryland law firm where she represented renewable energy firms, public utilities, and others in the energy industry, and advocated at the Maryland General Assembly for the passage of legislation encouraging the development of offshore wind.
Deepwater Wind has also hired Whitney Fiore, of St. Michaels, to serve as manager of permitting and environmental affairs. She will lead the federal, state and local permitting of the Skipjack Wind Farm. In addition, Fiore will manage the project’s extensive science and data collection program. Fiore has worked for more than 20 years in the field of natural resources, environmental permitting and regulatory compliance.
Weber and Fiore are the first of several local hires planned for Deepwater Wind’s Maryland team. In the coming months, Deepwater Wind will open its Maryland development office in Annapolis, where the local team will be based.
“We’ve put together a first-rate team to put our plans for the Skipjack Wind Farm into high gear,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “Their expertise will help us launch Maryland’s offshore wind industry.”
Deepwater Wind has also assembled a local team of biologists, engineers, marine archaeologists and other researchers, led by Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.’s Laurel, Md., office, to conduct the comprehensive marine and environmental assessments to support the project’s state and federal permitting. The company is also in the process of assembling a team to collect geophysical, geotechnical, archaeological and sea-floor data to guide the development of the Skipjack Wind Farm. Deepwater Wind expects to submit its permit applications in 2019.