On May 8th, the Baltimore City Council resoundingly passed a resolution in support of offshore wind development in Maryland. Baltimore City Councilwoman Sharon Middleton introduced the resolution, which was co-sponsored by 14 of the 15 City Councilmembers, urging the Public Service Commission to approve one or both of the offshore wind farm proposals currently under consideration.
Before Monday’s vote, over 20 Baltimore residents, local elected officials, and environmental advocates rallied in front of City Hall to show support for offshore wind development and the Baltimore City Council resolution. Supporters displayed art created by local artists and activists for the Peoples Climate March, which many attended the previous weekend in Washington, DC.
The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently reviewing two proposals for offshore wind projects off Ocean City, Maryland. These two proposals present Maryland, and Baltimore in particular, with the opportunity to become a hub for the growing offshore wind industry. US Wind plans to build a 748-megawatt offshore wind farm, and Skipjack Offshore Wind proposes a 120-megawatt project. Both applicants have named Sparrows Point in Baltimore County as the site of a future assembly and manufacturing plant for their operations.
The Public Service Commission found that development, construction, and operation of the first phase of the US Wind project (248 megawatts) would create 7,050 jobs over 20 years and generate an estimated $1,354 million in economic activity for the state. The Public Service Commission also found that development, construction, and operation of the Skipjack project would create 2,635 jobs over 20 years and generate an estimated $536.4 million in economic activity for the state. Much of the economic activity created by both projects would take place in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
Not only would offshore wind projects create jobs and economic activity in Maryland and in Baltimore, a commitment to offshore wind energy would also displace polluting sources of energy, many of which are located in and around Baltimore, improving air quality across the state and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
As an urban center and a port city, Baltimore has high potential for being heavily impacted by climate change. State and local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and invest in clean, renewable energy like offshore wind are important contributions to overall emissions reductions.
The Public Service Commission must decide by May 17th whether or not to approve the proposals. If approved, these offshore wind projects could bring thousands of family-sustaining jobs to the Baltimore area, reduce Maryland’s reliance on fossil fuels, and limit air pollution.
By passing this resolution on Monday, Baltimore City took a stand in support of offshore wind, family-sustaining jobs, and a stable climate. Now it’s up to the PSC to approve offshore wind in Maryland. Stay tuned!