Ocean City Today
https://oceancitytoday.villagesoup.com/p/1735887

Harris wind bill cut

By Brian Gilliland | Mar 29, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison Rep. Andy Harris during his March 23 town hall meeting.

(March 30, 2018) The efforts to push offshore wind turbines farther offshore was dealt a major blow this past week, as an amendment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-1) enabling that cause was pulled from the $1.3 trillion spending bill signed by President Donald Trump.

The Harris amendment would have prevented federal funding for inspectors to evaluate wind farm projects fewer than 24 nautical miles from the shoreline. Without the inspections, the project would not be able to proceed.

“We knew that powerful special interests would work hard to drop this amendment from the final bill,” Harris said. “But meanwhile we have bought valuable time to get to the truth about how harmful the updated windmill plan would be to the viewscape of Ocean City due to the much larger, taller windmills now being planned.”

The four-megawatt turbines originally pitched for the project will have become obsolete by the time US Wind goes to install them, so the company is evaluating using fewer, but taller, turbines. The largest of these, at 8.4 megawatts, would require less than half of the smaller devices, at about 90, instead of 180.

Ocean City, having failed to push the windmills farther from the coast on several fronts, is now considering action based on this change, calling it fundamentally different from the original proposal.

“Naturally, we are pleased that what would have proved a major impediment to our project has not been realized. We look forward to delivering the very clear benefits of economic development and job growth that this major offshore wind energy development project will deliver to Maryland, Ocean City, and its citizens,” Riccardo Toto, US Wind director and president, said.

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