Articles from Maryland
OCEAN CITY — Independent stakeholders in one of two offshore wind projects appear to have little concern with the significantly larger turbines selected, according to briefs filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission following a hearing last month.
Danish energy company Ørsted is no longer seeking to connect an offshore wind farm to the mainland at Fenwick Island State Park.
Following the completion of more thorough evaluations of the area proposed for the facility, Ørsted has determined that a large portion of the site is comprised of undisturbed wetlands. Accordingly, Ørsted has notified DNREC that it will no longer pursue plans to build the interconnection facility at Fenwick Island State Park as initially proposed.
ANCHOR has vowed to carry the fight against the wind turbines to Circuit Court, where it has already filed a case against the project. ANCHOR opposes the project, saying the wind turbines create noise pollution, obstruct views and have a negative impact on home values. “We are not giving up,” said Darlene Park, ANCHOR president.
A proposed project to place 17 wind turbines on Dan's Mountain was approved Wednesday by the Maryland Public Service Commission. The approval allows Dan's Mountain Wind Force LLC to construct the turbines on the mountain's ridge line near the communities of Midland and the Harwood Subdivision, along with Vale Summit, Cresaptown and Bel Air.
The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) evidentiary hearing on the proposed change in the size of the turbines for one offshore wind farm began in earnest on Thursday with both sides firing salvos in their opening remarks.
The Maryland Public Service Commission has scheduled a virtual public comment hearing (via WebEx) for Wednesday, May 20 at 6:30 pm concerning an application for exemption filed by Dan's Mountain Wind Force to locate turbines on the ridge in western Allegany County.
Visual resource scientist and town of Ocean City consultant Robert Sullivan also submitted written testimony to the PSC last Friday. Sullivan’s testimony, based largely on years of experience and the direct findings of offshore wind energy projects in the U.S. and abroad, suggested the increased height in the turbines would almost certainly make the Skipjack project visible from the Ocean City coast. “I am certain that on many day, the project will be easily visible from many oceanside locations in Ocean City, particularly from the northern sections of Ocean City and especially so from the upper floors of buildings in Ocean City,” he wrote.
Regarding “Wind farm company meets with local contractors,” Coastal Point, Feb. 14, 2020:
Park said she fears the 70 megawatt wind farm, applied for by Dan's Mountain Wind Force, may be larger than people realize. She attended a Feb. 27 meeting of the Allegany County Board of Commissioners and asked them to withdraw support for the project. "It has been very disappointing that the county commissioners have supported this," Park said Wednesday. "They have not listened to the citizens and I hope they will hear our concerns."
Ocean City has stated numerous times that the town is supportive of offshore wind energy as being a viable source of clean energy; but town officials, residents, and visitors clearly are not willing to sacrifice Ocean City’s natural Atlantic view. The Coastal Association of REALTORS® and the local real estate industry are fully supportive of the town’s position and we reiterate their legitimate and relevant concern that these turbines will forever change one of Ocean City’s most valuable assets – its viewshed.
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan called on the PSC to hold more evidentiary hearings to better understand the impact larger wind turbines would have on the town. U.S. Congressman Andy Harris, R-Md.-1 pointed out that nothing stops U.S. Wind from possibly building 12-megawatt wind turbines as close as 10 miles from shore. Harris went on to criticize the wind developers' decision to use larger wind turbines saying, “I would suggest that this is one of the most amazing cases of bait and switch that I’ve ever seen."
A standing room only crowd descended in Ocean City to hear and be heard on the issue of wind power off the coasts of Maryland and Delaware. The Ocean City Fire Department estimates there were 1,850 people in attendance.
On Saturday, hundreds of homeowners, residents, and Ocean City visitors packed into the Ocean City Convention Center to make their voices heard about 800-foot offshore wind turbines potentially being built along the resort town’s shoreline.
It is part of a larger inquiry that will examine the decision by two prospective wind farm operations, Ørsted’s Skipjack Wind and U.S. Wind, to increase the size of their wind turbines, and its possible effects on Ocean City’s coastal aesthetic. Residents, visitors, proponents, opponents, city leaders and stakeholders will have the opportunity to voice their opinions at the hearing. City officials see this session as an opportunity to turn the tide on a project they contend will harm the resort’s economy.
The meeting came at the request of Rick Meehan, Ocean City mayor, after U.S. Wind, the company looking to build the turbines greatly increased the height of the structures to 853 feet. Meehan is concerned the size will ruin the view of the ocean, consequently hurting tourism and property values.
After two month-long extensions, the state closed public comment Jan. 15 on Ørsted’s controversial proposal to connect the company’s offshore wind farm to the electrical grid by passing through Fenwick Island State Park. The connection project was revealed in late September. In return for being allowed to connect the wind farm, Ørsted has proposed $18 million of improvements at the state park.
On the eve of the highly-anticipated public hearing on the increased height of the proposed offshore wind turbines off the resort coast, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) this week approved the town’s petition to intervene and also changed the hearing’s site within the convention center to accommodate the expected crowd.
The citizen’s group opposing the Dans Mountain wind farm project has rescheduled a public meeting on the case for Tuesday at City Place in Frostburg.