Articles filed under Offshore Wind from Maryland
The view of waters off Ocean City remains clear, while the possibility of electricity-generating wind turbines jutting up from the horizon is somewhat less so, as local government continued its effort either to kill the idea or push the turbines farther offshore and out of sight.
The researchers found that all three species were more likely to enter areas the government has established for offshore wind development during migration than during the winter. The gannets, in particular, trafficked the wind development areas most extensively while heading to or from breeding grounds in eastern Canada or wintering spots as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.
At least one of two offshore wind projects approved by Maryland utility regulators in May could be in jeopardy after an amendment sponsored by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) that seeks to push the turbines farther from the coast was approved by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee in the past week.
Harris cited Ocean City’s concerns about impacts on views from the shoreline as the catalyst for the amendment. It’s important to note while Ocean City officials are not opposed to the offshore wind farm projects conceptually, they continue to express concern about the potential impact on the views from the shore and have pushed the companies to move the turbines back at least 26 miles.
The amendment restricts the use of federal funds to conduct a site assessment or construction and operation plans for wind turbines less than 24 nautical miles from Maryland’s shoreline – the distance at which the turbines would not be visible from the beach.
"We want them to be moved back to the horizon, so we don't see the towers. I really believe people come to Ocean City because they want to look out into the ocean, the undisturbed natural state of the ocean, and this will dramatically change that." -- Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan
Starting in 2020 Maryland’s electricity consumers will be paying higher electric bills in order to subsidize two wind projects to be developed off the Ocean City waterfront. Over the lives of these projects the subsidies will total more than $2 billion. Despite this exorbitant cost the projects will deliver no environmental benefits and, most likely, will contribute to global warming. How did this lose-lose situation come about?
Two months ago, Maryland regulators signed off on the state’s first two offshore wind farms.
In May, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved electricity-rate increases to fund two wind projects off the Ocean City shoreline. Over their 20-year life spans, these projects will cost Maryland electricity consumers more than $2 billion. Will they deliver economic benefits that justify their costs? Almost certainly not.
The developers of two wind farms planned off the coast of Ocean City are moving forward with their projects, accepting terms Maryland regulators laid out earlier this month in allowing them to collect subsidies from the state's electricity customers.
“Think about what 200 windmills would do to the sunrise,” James said to Harris on May 11. “People come here to enjoy that. They’ll be walking on the beach, seeing these things that are 670 feet tall. They say we’ll benefit from this, but it’s Delaware, Virginia and New Jersey beaches that’s going to benefit.”
The PSC decision comes just a week after the Mayor and Council fired off another strongly worded letter to the regulatory agency expressing a desire to have the offshore turbines sited at least 26 miles off the coast, or a distance determined to far enough out to have a zero visual impact from the shoreline.
Maryland waters could be home to some of the nation's first — and by far its largest — offshore wind farms under a decision issued Thursday by the state Public Service Commission to approve two projects.
“US Wind understands the council’s opinions regarding viewshed impacts of the offshore wind project and has taken these publicly expressed concerns seriously,” the letter reads. “To further address your concerns, US Wind remains willing to discuss altering the current wind project layout in an attempt to reduce viewshed impacts for Ocean City."
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan says he may have underestimated how big a "thumbnail" would be when it comes to gauging the visual impact of a proposed wind project off the coast. "They always talked about thumbnails," Meehan said. "Well, they're a little bigger than a thumbnail."
The Maryland Public Service Commission will begin what could be two weeks of hearings on proposals from two developers to build wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean off Maryland. The two developers are competing for up to $1.9 billion in subsidies over 20 years, paid for by the state’s electricity ratepayers, a crucial financing mechanism for developers to recoup the cost of building the massive wind farms.
The commission said it had opened its formal review of proposals from US Wind Inc., a subsidiary of Italian energy and construction giant Toto Holdings SpA, and Skipjack Offshore Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Deepwater Wind Holdings LLC. Approval from the commission is necessary for either project to secure offshore renewable energy credits.
After weeks of surveying the offshore area and mapping the sea floor, followed by months of interpreting data and polishing a formal report on the project, Paul Rich, director of project development at U.S. Wind, reports the Shearwater survey vessel didn’t find much of anything on the leased site of a proposed wind farm off the coast of Ocean City.
Other wind projects have been proposed along the Atlantic coast in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Delaware, but all have been slowed or stalled by regulatory, political and financial challenges. ...Nevertheless, US Wind is "very bullish" on the prospects for offshore wind in the United States.
Virginia company earlier won auction for project off the coast of its home state