Articles filed under Impact on Views
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.
Mr Pantelis fears building wind parks would destroy the Agafra’s appeal. New roads would erode the mountainsides and noisy, 200m-high turbines would scare away its wildlife. He says that people used to think wind energy would be beneficial for tourism. But it just ruins the view.”
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.
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.
Plans to install the largest offshore wind turbines on the market off the coast of Maryland are running into challenges.
The Maryland Public Service Commission has granted Ocean City’s petition request to review the new proposed turbine sizes for two wind energy projects that were approved in 2017. The Commission determined that the new larger turbines – which are nearly double the size proposed two years ago – constitute material changes to the original applications.
It is uncertain what steps the PSC will take next, although the state agency does have the authority to rescind the original approvals or amend them. In an official filing outlining the re-opening of the public comment period, the PSC said filings earlier this fall made it clear both companies are moving toward the larger turbines. It’s important to note the PSC approval was based on the “best available technology” when the ORECs were awarded and in the years since, technological advances have significantly increased the size of the proposed turbines.
"The community raised a number of significant concerns about the visual impacts of the project on surrounding residences and the cumulative effect of wind farm projects with residences potentially able to view wind turbines in multiple viewing sectors," the Commission noted. "The community expressed concern that wind farm projects will transform the landscape from an attractive rural landscape towards an industrial landscape dominated by wind turbines."
A number of surveys, including one from the University of Delaware, indicate perhaps 15-to-35 percent of tourists will stop coming as the view degenerates as a result of the offshore wind turbines. The Delaware Tourism Office reported in 2016, tourism contributed roughly $3 billion to Delaware’s gross domestic product.
Wind turbines taller than Blackpool Tower are being proposed for a site near Langholm. E Power Ltd has submitted a scoping report for the Callisterhall scheme to the Scottish Government and the proposals are for up to 25 of the 720ft high structures, dwarfing the iconic tower which stands at 518 feet and nine inches tall.
"We sense that the visual impact of today's big turbines - much bigger than those deployed in Middelgrunden [the world's first commercial offshore wind farm] and Arklow - may become a political issue in time because where we're looking at the early deployments on the east coast is where most of the population lives."
“I was a little caught off guard with this news about the significant increase, the 853-feet high turbines,” Sen. Corozza explained. “This has significantly increased from the original proposal.” While the focus on the criticism has largely been centered around tourism, commerical fishery is also of a concern, according to Sen. Corozza, who highlighted the concerns expressed by fisherman in her district who have appeared at several public forums with a host of questions regarding the project.
"Once you include the blade, that's well over 800 feet tall, that's almost 2-and-a-half times the height of the largest building in Ocean City, so these are significant structures that are going to be placed off our coastline," Meehan said.
"We'll be absolutely there on the front line to attack it, because we believe what we've got now is more than we should have to bear... We've got the Snowdonia National Park and looking out from that you'll see this forest of metal turbines. It's just diabolical," he said. "Scenery is all part of what we sell as a tourist destination and tourism is our only industry. To put those there is industrialising the seascape.
“Now, we understand that the developers are proposing to install 12 megawatt towers approaching 500 feet in height,” the town’s letter to Hogan reads. “In order for a structure that large to be invisible from Ocean City, they would need to be located at least 33 miles from our coast. The visual impact and the associated negative affect on tourism, property values and the environment of these giant structures, now more than twice the height of the tallest high-rise in Ocean City and allowed within 10 miles of our shore cannot be understated.”
“With the introduction of 12 MW, it is going to be the biggest machine ever deployed — the most powerful machines in the world.” The new units are bigger in megawatts generated and capacity and rotor diameter, he said. The GE turbine has a rotor diameter of 220 meters (722 feet). Each blade is 107 meters (351 feet) long, sweeping a total area of 38.000 square meters (409,000 square feet), according to Ørsted.
Construction on the 328-foot tall meteorological tower 14 miles off the coast is in full swing.
There is no formal proposal to install wind turbines in Lake Erie waters off Western New York. But nearly 100 people showed up at an Erie County Legislature meeting on Thursday anticipating or fearing that day is coming soon. Clean energy advocates pressed legislators to be open-minded about wind energy use. Though there are currently no freshwater wind farms in the United States, a six-turbine project is expected to be installed eight miles off the Lake Erie shores of Cleveland.