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Ørsted to Build Maryland’s First Wind O&M Facility

Orsted to build Maryland's first offshore wind mainteance facility in Ocean City
The O&M facility will be the port for up to three crew transfer vessels (Orsted)

Published Oct 7, 2021 5:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

Development of the offshore wind energy sector also requires the creation of onshore infrastructure to support the wind farms. As the next step in the development of Maryland’s first offshore wind farm, Ørsted announced plans for its second facility in Maryland. To be located at Ocean City, the site which will cost nearly $20 million will become Maryland’s first offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) facility.

As part of its agreement with Maryland for the development of the wind farm, known as Skipjack 1, Ørsted committed to the state to develop onshore facilities that would provide jobs in the communities. The O&M facility is projected to provide 110 temporary and permanent jobs and position the Ocean City area as a strategic hub for offshore wind jobs and economic activity.  

Ørsted’s O&M facility will serve as the strategic embarkation point for up to three Crew Transfer Vessels (CTV) that will service Skipjack Wind 1. The O&M location will include a warehouse and serve as Ørsted’s Ocean City area office. Ørsted plans to utilize zero-emission CTV vessels at the facility as part of its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The facility will serve as the permanent home for key members of the Skipjack Wind 1 Maryland team, including highly skilled wind turbine maintenance technicians, engineers, operations personnel, and other key roles.

“Wind energy promises cost-effective clean energy and jobs right here at home,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. “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.”

Ørsted promised the State of Maryland when the Public Service Commission awarded the project in 2017 that it would develop onshore infrastructure to support the wind farms. Skipjack Wind 1 is a 120-megawatt offshore wind energy project under development off the Delmarva Peninsula that will power 40,000 homes in the region. It is expected to come online in the second half of 2026.

The company also recently completed more than $13 million in port infrastructure upgrades at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore County, Maryland as it works to create Maryland’s first offshore wind staging center. The site will include a 50-acre staging center for storage and assembly of components for Skipjack1. Heavy-lift cranes will move parts from ships and prepare them for the site nearly 20 miles off the coast of Ocean City.

US Wind and Ørsted are currently bidding for the next round of offshore wind leases in Maryland. Ørsted is proposing Skipjack2 but yesterday lost a bid before the Maryland Public Service Commission seeking to disqualify some of the competing proposals from US Wind. The two companies submitted a total of five bids for Maryland’s second round of leases. 

All the U.S. East Coast several projects are either underway or announced to develop infrastructure to support offshore wind energy. New Jersey recently began construction on the state’s first wind port which it hopes will become a hub for the industry. Similarly, Vineyard Wind and Crowley Maritime announced plans to build a wind port in Salem, Massachusetts, and New York City unveiled a plan to use the Brooklyn waterfront to support offshore wind development.