Regarding “Wind farm company meets with local contractors,” Coastal Point, Feb. 14, 2020:
It appears as if the Skipjack Wind project off the coast of Delaware has all the permits pre-approved, as contractors are posed to submit requests for proposals (RFP’s) on land-based construction projects (i.e. the Fenwick Island State Park improvements).
Public concern as to the scope and due process of this project is warranted. Both the federal and state permits required to build structures in the ocean and bring undersea high-voltage power cables inland are substantial; preliminary Environmental Impact Statements, (EIS) Construction and Operational Plan (COP) have critical components of public comment and reviews of scientific and technical reports.
None of these important documents are in the public domain at this juncture. Danish-based Orsted either fails to realize these local complications or has provided the necessary financial incentives to DNREC, a conflict of interest and possible violation of the state ethics code.
The Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between DNREC and Orsted is a problematic blueprint, lacking in transparency and accountability for the coastal community. Where are the carbon-neutral alternative energy solutions, which would prevent building an industrial park in the middle of the ocean?
The one and only large wind turbine constructed in Delmarva resides at the University of Delaware on the Lewes campus at the end of Pilottown Road. That turbine was built without any environmental impact statements or state permits, even though it resides on the edge of the Great Marsh, an acknowledged habitat for many migratory bird species. True fact.
For those sheltering in place during these times of uncertainty, some interesting reading on BOEM’s determination of Rhode Island/Cape Cod Vineyard Wind, as a project with adverse effects on the cultural, historical and paleoanthropological resources of that area. That project is stalled, and the final EIS will not be available until December 2020. (To clarify, this is not an Orsted endeavor.) (https://www.boem.gov/sites/default/files/renewable-energy-program/State-Activities/HP/Finding-of-Adverse-Effect-Vineyard-Wind.pdf)
These substantive comments and concerns are a vital clue as to the how and why community resources must be protected. We must do our homework and due diligence, regardless of the current Orsted public relations campaign and the presumptive marriage of Delaware and offshore wind.
In addition, the Orsted wind project off Block Island, a much-touted success story, will have to go offline in the future, for half a year, to retrench the power cable. Given the geophysical surveys required for federal/state permits, the substrate of the ocean floor is always determined before construction.
Grover Fugate, director of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council, recently stated that a half-mile (800 meters) of cabling requires new sections spliced in and reburied in the approach to landfall. Two cables were affected; one running from Block Island and owned by Orsted and a second export line owned by power company.
Fugate claimed the project team rejected advice given by state officials to use directional drilling during cable burial, and instead used a jet plow. The problem arose when an unexpected concentration of boulders and pebbles led to the cable achieving burial depth of less than 2 feet, rather than the 4 to 8 feet specified by state officials during the permitting process.
Is this any way to conduct business in a coastal ecosystem? Corporate arrogance, big profits first, and purchasing political favoritism?