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The battle over the proposed distance of offshore wind energy turbines from the Ocean City shoreline moved to the General Assembly this week with a hearing before a Senate committee that would require the distance to be at least 26 nautical miles.
“The two most important factors of Ocean City property values are location and view," Michael James, an Ocean City hotel executive, told the Finance Committee. “Seven-hundred-foot turbines will undoubtedly hurt property values.” Town officials say they support offshore wind energy but not wind turbines visible from condo and hotel balconies.
The town of Ocean City's objections to two offshore wind farm proposals are getting an airing in Annapolis. A new Maryland General Assembly bill would prohibit any turbines from being erected within 26 miles of the coast, mirroring a resolution that sailed through the Town Council last month.
“This is a big project that will be there for many, many years, and we only get one chance to make it right,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “Let’s not go build something we’re all going to regret.” The town's rejection is a political blow to America's first large-scale offshore wind development. But it is largely a symbolic one; the turbines are being planned in federal waters.
Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday placed a moratorium on permits for most new wind turbines in Maine, a move that could reverberate regionally a day before Massachusetts is set to announce winners in a massive clean power procurement plan.
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 draft plan ...takes a hard stance on big wind. "Beyond the utility-scale wind project currently under development in Readsboro and Searsburg, as a matter of policy, utility-scale wind is deemed incompatible with the land-use policies contained within the regional plan," the document says. "Instead, we would encourage the development of solar energy generation that is compatible with our regional plan land-use policies."
In the inspector’s report, it was recommended the Department for Communities and Local Government throw out the application as damage to the heritage aspects of the area would not be outweighed by the public benefits of the proposed development.
A bid to build a 12-turbine wind farm near Bonchester Bridge was rejected by councillors this week. ...the plans were thrown out, mainly because of their feared adverse effect on the landscape, properties and historic sites.
“Our committee has become concerned that the planned wind farm development off the coast of Ocean City, as currently conceived, could have a serious, negative impact on Ocean Pines Association property owners, as well as a majority of county residents and businesses,” Wolf said. “Our apprehension is based on certain findings of a study by North Carolina State University regarding the impact of wind farms on coastal tourism.”
Three companies want more than 70 turbines to go up, but the ministry says residents’ ears, the landscape, birds and bats would suffer as a result; The ministry’s opinion relies on a paper by the companies themselves. The ministry says 13 of the turbines would be less than 500 meters from homes, which conflicts with the recommendations of both the environmental protection and health ministries because of the noise.
Residents said they feared the 500-foot tall turbines would adversely affect the aviation tradition on the lake, culminating every fall with the Greenville Fly-in. “There’s a lot at stake,” McDonald told the group. “The view and the wilderness experience. There’s a future at stake if you want to develop tourism in the area, the turbines pose a serious threat to the region.”
A group that fears that more industrial wind development in rural Somerset County will hurt the economy and quality of life for area residents.
The Secretary of State said he agreed with the conclusion of the Planning Inspector that “there would be harm caused to the significance of a number of designated heritage assets” and that the size and layout of the 11 wind turbines would be “an incongruous presence of significant scale” which would harm the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Heritage Coast.
When the House Appropriations Committee approved the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 on Tuesday, it also OK’d an amendment opposing the development of offshore wind in Maryland.
"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
Two months ago, Maryland regulators signed off on the state’s first two offshore wind farms.
A spokesman for Mr Fydenberg said the "Government considered the proposed wind turbines would create a considerable, intrusive visual impact". "This would affect the spectacular and scenic landscapes for which the world heritage island group is recognised," the spokesman said in a statement.
Councilman Tony DeLuca, who first asked the council send a letter of opposition to the U.S. Wind’s proposal, still had reservations about this project’s visual impact. “I’ve talked to three engineers and all of them told me that with the curvature of the earth and the horizon, they would have to be at least 26 miles offshore to be not visible at all,” DeLuca said.
According to the transcript published in the Legislative Gazette, in his Jan. 10 State of the State address at Farmingdale State College, Mr. Cuomo stated the following: “I’m calling on LIPA [Long Island Power Authority] to approve a 90 megawatt wind farm. It’s enough to support 50,000 homes. They will not be visible from the beach. They will be 30 miles southeast of Montauk. Not even Superman standing on Montauk Point could see these wind farms.”