Ørsted ‘repositions’ Skipjack Wind project citing economic hurdles

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Ørsted announced it will “reposition” the Skipjack Wind project located off Maryland and Delaware.

Following consultation with the State of Maryland, Ørsted has withdrawn from the Maryland Public Service Commission orders approving the Skipjack 1 and 2 projects.

Ørsted intends to continue advancing development and permitting for the combined project, including submission of its updated Construction and Operations Plan to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The US Wind project located near Skipjack is moving forward. Developers are negotiating with the State of Delaware over bringing offshore transmission lines ashore.

According to a release, the action follows a review of the project’s orders. “The payment amounts for ORECs outlined in the orders are no longer commercially viable because of today’s challenging market conditions, including inflation, high interest rates, and supply chain constraints.”

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“Today’s announcement affirms our commitment to developing value-creating projects and represents an opportunity to reposition Skipjack Wind, located in a strategically valuable federal lease area and with a state that is highly supportive of offshore wind, for future offtake opportunities,” said David Hardy, group executive vice president and CEO Americas at Ørsted. “As we explore the best path forward for Skipjack Wind, we anticipate several opportunities and will evaluate each as it becomes available. We will continue to advance Skipjack Wind’s development milestones, including its Construction and Operations Plan.”

“We are grateful to Governor Moore, the Maryland Public Service Commission and the State of Maryland for their steadfast partnership and support as we have worked diligently to develop Skipjack Wind under challenging economic circumstances,” Hardy continued. “We fully support the state’s leadership as they pursue their ambitious offshore wind goal. We also thank the State of Delaware for its collaborative approach to supporting Skipjack Wind’s development,” Hardy stated.

While various factors impact offshore wind projects globally, Ørsted continues to advance, build and invest into several U.S. projects, the release stated.

With its partner, Eversource, its South Fork Wind project serving New York is set to reach full operations in the weeks ahead as the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the nation. Revolution Wind, also with Eversource and delivering power to Rhode Island and Connecticut, has already started construction activities. Sunrise Wind, also serving New York, was re-submitted today in the New York 4 solicitation, which, if awarded, would improve the project’s financial position and advance the most mature offshore wind project in the state’s pipeline.

Ørsted exited offshore projects in New Jersey and took a write-down charge.

In addition, the Danish company maintains an uncontracted seabed along the East Coast that has the potential for offshore wind development.

In the Northeast, approximately 10 gigawatts of offshore wind energy is expected to be awarded this year, and the Mid-Atlantic has additional solicitations expected in the next one to two years, the company noted.

Some residents, recently led by Eastern Shore GOP Congressman Andy Harris, opposed the Skipjack project, citing various issues, including unsubstantiated claims of damage to sea life. The Glasgow-based Caesar Rodney Institute has opposed offshore wind projects up and down the East Coast, with critics claiming its efforts are financed by fossil fuel interest.

CRI has denied those claims.

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