Town of Fenwick Island

Offshore Wind: Seeking a Responsible Solution

Welcome to the Town of Fenwick Island Environmental Committee’s page for Offshore Wind information!

 

Synopsis of Offshore Wind Projects off Delaware’s Coast: https://youtu.be/xodPZks7BGg

 

Windfarm Environmental Impact Avoidance – Regulatory Action Needed 7-24-22

Environmental Impact Statement BOEM-2022-025 – US Wind and Orsted Windfarm FV 7-8-22

 

Offshore Wind Symposium

The FI Environmental Committee held a symposium on May 20th at Indian River High School to provide factual information so citizens could formulate an opinion on offshore wind. 
Recording Link: Offshore Wind Symposium Full Recording

Presenters from the symposium included: 

  • Janet Dudley-Eshbach, Moderator
  • Mike Dunmeyer, US Wind
  • Brady Walker, ORSTED
  • Rick Meehan, Mayor, Ocean City, MD
  • Terry McGean, City Manager, Ocean City, MD
  • Meghan Lapp, Seafreeze Shoreside
  • Bonnie Brady, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association
  • Bob Stern, Save Long Beach Island, Inc.
  • David Stevenson, Ceasar Rodney Institute
  • Geoff Pohanka, Pohanka Automotive Group, North Bethany, DE resident

Offshore wind turbines and cable comments from MERR

Resolution #113-2022– Resolution to support a federal adoption of an exclusion zone for offshore wind of at least 30 miles from the coast of Delaware and Fenwick Island, Delaware.

A Heavy Wind: The Threat to an American Heritage – YouTube

How Unmitigated Wind Development Threatens the Environment and Human Livelihoods – YouTube

Meghan Lapp: Commercial Fishing, Navigation, & Horseshoe Crabs

Bonnie Brady: Fishing Industry’s Biological Concerns of Offshore Wind

 

Geoff Pohanka Question/Answers

Question: As one of only 9 state with coastal access that has not adopted wind, isn’t Delaware behind the times to meet the energy demands we will face to address the climate crisis?

Every state must carefully evaluate which sources of energy meet consumer and environmental demands. Energy generation must be reliable, otherwise there are blackouts. Wind energy is not reliable since wind speed does not usually match with energy demand. Costs are also a factor, in that wind power costs 400%+ more than other sources of power and including wind power on land and solar energy. The State of Delaware has not opposed the actions taken by Maryland to permit as many as 200 wind turbines off the Delaware coastline.

Question: What actions can citizens take to implement a 25-30 mile exclusionary zone?

I am unaware that citizens can cause an exclusionary zone, with the exception of legal action.

Question: Can the site be moved? How?

The only way to prevent wind turbine development this close to shore is with legal action.

Question: What studies have been completed for the Maryland wind projects and what were the conclusions?

The energy study conducted by the Maryland Public Service Commission with Levitan and Associates found that the wind turbine projects off MD and DE would increase regional CO2 emissions…..the report can be found here:

http://www.levitan.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Levitan-Associates-Inc.-Evaluation-and-Comparison.-Revised-Public-Version.-Case-No.-9431.-ML-214140.pdf

Question: What do citizens who object to the view of wind turbines say when they find out that citizens on Block Island have no objection  to their offshore wind turbines, that those wind turbines draw more tourists (like me) who want to see them?

The five wind turbines off Block Island do not face the islands beaches. If they did, the impact might have been quite different. It is impossible to say if the turbines caused the increase in tourism on Block Island, since there could have been other reasons. Certainly, there is a curiosity factor which likely will wear off in time. These turbines have not been reliable, they have been out of operation for much of the past year, and the power cable to the shore has come to the surface, requiring a 80-million dollar repair, the cost of which will be paid by area consumers. The five turbines and power cable cost $464,000,000 to install, the cost of power is 28.6 cents per kWh, significantly more than the 4 cents wholesale cost of power, and with a yearly escalation. This is hardly affordable.

 

OCMD Mayor Meehan & City Manager McGean Question/Answers

Why have you elected not to have a balanced presentation if both Ocean City and Fenwick support wind energy? Why weren’t there an equal number of speakers pro and con?

Ocean City supports clean energy. As the Mayor and I both stated, we do not believe that the current projects as proposed are being done in a responsible manner. Placing over 100 industrial scale turbines within sight of our shore line threatens our ocean view shed, our property values, and our economy. We know that these projects can be constructed further offshore and that other states and even federal agencies have taken steps to preserve their ocean view sheds. If the developers would move these projects out of the view shed, we would happily support them.

 

What do Fenwick Island or Ocean City citizens who object to the view of wind turbines, say when they find out that citizens on Block Island have no objection to their offshore wind turbines, that those wind turbines draw more tourists (like me) who want to see them? 

Block Island is much different from Ocean City. Block Island has 5 turbines, not over 100. The turbines are located out of view from their prime beach areas. Prior to the turbine installation Block Island had no connection to the electric grid, all their electricity was produced on island with diesel generators and one of the main reasons they supported their project was because a key component required that the developer would connect Block Island to grid. As far as the turbines being an attraction, go to the Block Island Tourism Home Page, they have a series of photos on their mast head, not a single one is of the turbines. When Ocean City first started beach replenishment, we had visitors come to Town to see the dredge in operation the first year. After that first year, once everyone had seen it, it was no longer an attraction, it became a nuisance. We now have folks that call each year to make sure we will not be doing replenishment during their stay in Ocean City. We wont have that luxury with the wind farms.

 

How did the proposal get this far? How can it be stopped? 

How it got this far is a long story. Essentially the lease areas were identified and approved by BOEM assuming older technology with much smaller turbines. As technology improved and the turbines got bigger, the lease areas were never re-evaluated and the developers claim they have the right to install as many turbines as they can fit and as large of a turbine as is available in the existing lease areas. Yes, it can still be stopped. Nether developer has an approved COP which is the method by which the Federal Government grants the permits to actually install the turbines. Both firms have submitted their COP applications and they are currently being reviewed by BOEM for completeness. Once BOEM determines they are complete, BOEM will begin the environmental review process which will take roughly 2 years and include public hearings and comments. If you have concerns about the projects, make sure you attend those hearing and submit comments. Also contact your Congressman and Senator and let them know how you feel. If you live in Delaware, you also have an opportunity to oppose the cable landfall.

 

What actions can citizens take to implement a 25-30 mile exclusionary zone? 

Contact your Governor, your State representative and State Senator. If you live in Maryland demand that no Offshore Renewable Energy Credits be awarded to projects closer than 30 miles from shore. If you live in Delaware demand that no cable landfall be allowed to connect any project closer than 30 miles offshore.

 

Links to Articles about the OSW Proposed Projects

03/10/2022 | Fenwick Seeks Exclusion Zone For Offshore Wind Projects | News Ocean City MD (mdcoastdispatch.com)

05/10/2022 | Fenwick Committee To Hold Offshore Wind Symposium | News Ocean City MD (mdcoastdispatch.com)

Offshore wind farms: A distraction or a resource? | News | coastalpoint.com

05/23/2022 | Fenwick Committee Holds First Offshore Wind Symposium | News Ocean City MD (mdcoastdispatch.com)

Wind company, Ocean City fishermen at odds again | News | oceancitytoday.com

US Wind commits to studies off Ocean City | News | oceancitytoday.com

Turbine blade incident in Denmark still under investigation | News | oceancitytoday.com

06/09/2022 | BOEM Approves Offshore Wind Plan | News Ocean City MD (mdcoastdispatch.com)

Meetings set for US Wind turbine proposal off Ocean City coast | News | oceancitytoday.com

Impact on marine mammals, fish and birds focus of new wind energy studies (delmarvanow.com)

BOEM to conduct review of offshore wind-energy plans | News | coastalpoint.com