Articles from Maryland
Ocean City Council was unanimous in opposing Ørsted’s Ocean Wind offshore wind turbine project after a representative made a presentation Thursday night. No formal action was taken, but the seven members were clear on opposing the wind farm in the island’s back yard, saying they don’t want the 99 800-foot-plus-tall wind turbines dotting the horizon 15 miles offshore, possibly harming the island’s tourism industry.
Despite Maryland’s ambitious commitment to renewable energy, solar power continues to generate friction across the state. Large utility-scale projects have been bogged down in regulatory reviews and lawsuits, as farming interests, local governments and conservation groups push back against placing photovoltaic panels on cropland and pasture.
Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina are teaming up on an effort to kickstart wind energy and economic development off their shores. The new initiative provides a framework for the three states to "cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce," they said in a joint press release.
While the decision announced last week did not go Ocean City’s way, the PSC did admonish the Skipjack project for not appropriately including the town and other stakeholders in the process, calling the company’s efforts at outreach “meager.” “Regarding outreach to stakeholders, the commission finds Skipjack’s efforts were deficient,” the order reads. “The order clearly imposes upon Skipjack the duty to work with stakeholders, including state and local officials, to discuss placement of the turbines in a manner that minimizes visual impacts.”
“Skipjack’s duty to reach out to stakeholders was not contingent on the stakeholders’ enthusiasm for the project,” according to the ruling. “Ocean City is an important stakeholder whose economy is vital to the state. Nor should Ocean City be punished for its lawful advocacy of a bill that would have required offshore wind turbines to be located at least 26 miles from shore.” As a result, the Public Service Commission ordered Ørsted to engage with its stakeholders more, including Ocean City, and provide updates every six months on the company's efforts.
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.