Ocean City Today

City Council drafts new turbine letter seeking answers

Desired 26 miles possible, Virginia Beach deal shows
By Katie Tabeling | Jul 20, 2017

(July 21, 2017) Ocean City officials are holding firm on their request that the two state-approved offshore wind farms need to be out of sight, and want to know whether the energy companies will agree.

In the last minutes during Monday’s session, Councilman Tony DeLuca made a motion to draft a third letter to the companies, U.S. Wind and Deepwater Wind, to see if they will put their respective projects 26 miles away from the shore. That’s the distance that city officials believe the turbines won’t be seen by residents or visitors.

DeLuca said it was time to push the matter further, as there has been no word from either energy company.

“When U.S. Wind presented, they told us 12 miles offshore, and came back with 17 miles. Deepwater said it was going to be approximately 19 and half miles, and said they’d have to check with engineers to move it 26 miles. We’ve yet to hear from them,” he said.

DeLuca added there was new evidence that their demand could be met. Last week it was announced that Dominion Energy is working with Denmark’s DONG Energy to build two wind turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

The Public Service Commission approved both Maryland proposals in May, with U.S. Wind’s farm offshore at the resort’s southern portion and Deepwater Wind’s project close to the Delaware line.

Under the PSC’s conditions, the U.S. Wind is approved for 62 turbines and will connect to the grid at the Indian River substation. Deepwater Wind’s project would involve 15 turbines placed 17-21 miles offshore and would connect to the grid through the Ocean City substation.

Each project is required to use “the best commercially available technology to lessen views of the wind turbines.”

Councilman John Gehrig backed DeLuca’s motion, adding that taxpayer dollars were at stake.

“We need to remember that Maryland taxpayers are on the hook for this at $2 billion,” Gehrig said. “I don’t want to keep hearing that it’ll cost a million [dollars] to move it back a mile. That’s not an excuse.”

Both companies informed city officials that it would cost $1 million per mile to extend the transmission line. Early estimates were that Deepwater Wind’s project would cost $700 million while U.S. Wind’s comes out to $1 billion.

The motion to send another letter passed 5-0, with Councilmen Dennis Dare and Matt James absent.


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