Skipjack 1 maintenance facility rendering, West Ocean City

Ørsted will base the maintenance and operations center for the Skipjack 1 windfarm in West Ocean City, Md., the Danish company announced this week. The facility will have space for up to three crew transfer vessels and a warehouse. The landing site for the windfarm's power cable is yet to be determined.

Ørsted, the wind energy firm developing the Skipjack wind farm off the Delaware and Maryland coasts, has announced it will locate its base of operation for the project in West Ocean City, Md.

The company made the announcement Wednesday, Oct. 6, releasing an artist’s rendition of the facility, which will be located on Harbor Road. The location will house operations and maintenance space for the project. The $20 million project will provide up to 110 temporary and permanent jobs for the area.

Skipjack Wind 1 is a 120-megawatt (MW) offshore wind project currently under development off the Maryland coast, which officials say will power 40,000 homes in the region when completed.

The West Ocean City facility will serve as the “strategic embarkation point” for up to three crew transfer vessels (CTVs) that will serve the Skipjack 1 project. The facility will include a warehouse and will serve as Ørsted’s Ocean City-area office. Ørsted representatives said the project hub will be the first emissions-free offshore wind facility in Maryland.

Ørsted’s plans also call for the CTVs to be zero-emission, which representatives said is part of the Danish company’s plan for sustainability and environmental stewardship. The offices will serve as the home for key Skipjack 1 personnel, which will include highly skilled wind-turbine maintenance technicians, engineers, operations personnel and other key employees.

“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,” said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.).

Mike Dunn, president and CEO of the Greater Salisbury Committee, said in connection to the announcement that “offshore wind is creating a tremendous job pipeline for Lower Shore workers and small businesses. Diversifying our workforce with good-paying jobs that service Skipjack Wind is huge for our region and our workers,” Dunn said.

“We are excited to fulfill another commitment made to the state of Maryland,” said Ørsted Offshore North America CEO David Hardy, adding, “We look forward to working with Ocean City residents, including its local fishing community, to make this a project that benefits all.”

Ocean City officials have been steadfast in their refusal to allow a substation within town limits to bring the wind power ashore from the turbines. Proposals for a substation to be located within Fenwick Island State Park were scrapped following heavy community resistance to the plans; a new location for the substation has yet to be identified.

Staff Reporter

Kerin majored in journalism at Ohio University and has worked as an editor and reporter for monthly, daily and weekly publications in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware since 1983. A native of Baltimore, Md., she has lived in Ocean View since 1996.