Wind Farm Developer Announces $20M West OC Facility

Wind Farm Developer Announces $20M West OC Facility
A rendering of the offshore wind operations facility along the West Ocean City commercial harbor is pictured. Submitted Image

WEST OCEAN CITY — One of the offshore wind energy project developers announced on Wednesday it was developing a major operations and maintenance facility along the harbor in West Ocean City.

Ørsted, whose Skipjack 1 project is making its way through the federal approval process, is planning to build Maryland’s first emissions-free offshore wind operations and maintenance facility in West Ocean City. The $20 million project located on Harbor Road in West Ocean City will service Ørsted’s Skipjack 1 project planned for a designated wind energy area off the coast of the resort.

Ørsted’s Skipjack 1 project was approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) in 2017 and calls for a 120-megwatt wind farm sited about 19 miles off the resort coast and is now going through federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) review. This summer, Ørsted filed an application with the PSC for Skipjack 2, a second-phase wind farm planned to generate 760 megawatts, or about six times the size of Skipjack 1.

Ørsted’s proposed West Ocean City facility will provide operations and maintenance to service the company’s Skipjack Wind program. It is expected to create up to 110 temporary and permanent jobs in the community and position the Ocean City area as a strategic hub for offshore wind jobs and economic activity.

The facility will serve as the strategic embarkation point for up to three Crew Transfer Vessels (CTV) that will service the Skipjack 1 project. The location will include a warehouse and serve as Ørsted’s Ocean City office. Ørsted plans to utilize zero emissions vessels at the facility as part of its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

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The facility will serve as the permanent home for key members of the Skipjack 1 Maryland team, including highly-skilled wind turbine maintenance technicians, engineers and other operations personnel. By locating its operations and maintenance facility in West Ocean City, Ørsted officials said this week the company is fulfilling a commitment made to the state of Maryland when the PSC awarded the project in 2017. The announcement marks the second major economic commitment Ørsted has fulfilled, following the 2019 launch of Maryland’s first offshore wind staging center in Baltimore County.

“As the global leader in offshore wind energy, Ørsted firmly believes that the Ocean City community deserves full access to the incredible promise of this new American industry,” said Ørsted Offshore North America CEO David Hardy. “We are excited to fulfill another commitment made to the state of Maryland and look forward to working with Ocean City residents, including its local fishing community, to make this a project that benefits all.”

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin offered effusive praise for the proposed facility in West Ocean City.

“Wind energy promises cost-effective clean energy and jobs right here at home,” he said. “I’m excited to see how this project moves forward, working closely with Ocean City and the local community. This new facility will help solidify Maryland as a national leader in creating the clean energy economy that will strengthen national security by lessening our dependence on foreign oil and protect our environment for generations to come.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.