Skipjack 1 might have a big brother.
Ørsted, the Danish clean-energy company seeking to develop offshore windfarm presence on Delmarva, will seek public feedback virtually Monday on the company’s bid for Skipjack 2, a second offshore project that could potentially be substantially larger than Skipjack 1, initially proposed along coastal Delaware.
Ørsted announced last week it has submitted a bid to the Maryland Public Service Commission to develop Skipjack Wind 2, a proposed project of up to 760 megawatts.
Ørsted is developing Skipjack Wind 1, a 120-megawatt project off the Maryland/Delaware coast that is scheduled to be operational by the second quarter of 2026. The Skipjack 1 project was awarded during Maryland’s first offshore wind solicitation in May of 2017. However, a location for Skipjack 1 has yet to be determined.
“It is a separate project,” said Gabe Martinez, community relations manager for Ørsted Offshore North America. “The Skipjack 2 is just a proposal for the Maryland Public Service Commission’s latest round, a second solicitation for offshore projects. It is just a proposal at this time.”
Ørsted’s virtual open house to answer questions from the public will begin at 6 p.m.
Individuals interested in attending the open house can visit here.
In July 2019, Ørsted entered a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to construct the Skipjack Wind Farm (Skipjack 1) interconnection facility at a site within Fenwick Island State Park.
The Skipjack 1 offshore wind project was to be comprised of up to 15 turbines off the Delaware coast, with the nearest turbine approximately 19 miles from Bethany Beach.
However, in July 2020, following more thorough evaluations of the state park area that revealed significant undisturbed wetlands, Ørsted notified DNREC it had abandoned plans to build the land-based interconnect as proposed.
Under the proposed lease partnership with DNREC, Ørsted would have provided up to $18 million in improvements at Fenwick Island State Park in exchange for placing Skipjack’s interconnection site at the park.
Plans for the Fenwick Island State Park interconnect drew heavy opposition from residents as well as Fenwick town officials.
The Skipjack 2 bid is in response to the Maryland Public Service Commission’s call for proposals for Round 2 offshore wind projects, through which the commission can award at least 1,200 megawatts of offshore wind renewable energy credits. The new project will power over 250,000 Delmarva homes, according to Ørsted.
If approved and constructed, Skipjack 2 would provide energy benefits beyond Maryland’s border through the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection, Mr. Martinez said.
“It is a Maryland project because it’s the Maryland Public Service Commission that put out the request for proposals,” said Mr. Martinez. “But that is not to say that Delaware won’t get any of the benefits. The energy is going to the PJM grid. So, some of that renewable energy will be going to homes on the shore in Delaware as well.”
A land interconnection for Skipjack 1 remains a missing link.
“We’re still evaluating our options for that. It is a project under development,” said Mr. Martinez. He added it is “not fully approved in the sense that we still need to get state permits. We need to get our permits from BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) but that it is a more active proposal.
“With the open house, we’ll be talking more about that with the community, residents and others who are interested, about how we are developing both projects and what our plans are for interconnection.
“We don’t really have a full announcement to make at this time. But we will be talking closely with stakeholders and the community and others about how we are going to develop both projects and what our plan are for the interconnection and the landfall for the wind farms.”