They said that because of the longer planning and permitting times now needed for offshore wind no additional projects are projected to be able to qualify for tax credits before they expire in 2019.
Each company has been awarded ORECs at a levelised price of US$131.93 per megawatt hour (MWh) for a term of 20 years, beginning in January 2021 for US Wind and 2023 for Skipjack.
Maryland Public Service Commission's chairman Kevin Hughes said: "The approval today of the nation's first large-scale offshore wind projects brings to fruition the general assembly's efforts to establish Maryland as a regional hub for this burgeoning industry".
The commission attached dozens of conditions to its approval, including requiring the companies to create almost 5,000 jobs related directly to development of the projects and invest $76 million in a Maryland steel plant, $39.6 million toward port upgrades at a shipyard near Baltimore and $12 million to the state's Offshore Wind Business Development Fund.
In turn, Deepwater Wind has proposed to install 15 turbines about 17-21 miles offshore as part of its Skipjack project.
The financing package for the project is thought to be the largest for an offshore wind farm, amounting to a total investment of €2.8bn (US$3bn) for the construction alone. It will connect to the grid at an Ocean City substation.
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Michael James, who chairs Ocean City's economic-development committee, said business owners and residents will push to ensure that the turbines are as small and as far away from the shoreline as possible.
The companies must notify the commission by 25 May 2017 whether they accept the conditions of approval contained in the order. It is also planning projects off the coasts of Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.
An analysis conducted for the PSC estimated the ORECs will cost residential customers less than $1.40/month and boost rates for commercial and industrial customers by less than 1.4% - below the limit set by the legislature in the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013.
"This marks the real start toward an extensive offshore wind industry that will one day soon stretch from Cape Cod, Mass., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., and provide as much as a third of the East Coast's electricity", the Chesapeake Climate Action Network said in a statement.
The project is expected to create a total of 75-100 maintenance and administrative jobs in Eemshaven, a seaport in the municipality of Groningen.