Ocean City Today

OC’s wind case not compelling enough

Mar 29, 2018



printed 03/30/2018


Whatever horsepower Ocean City had to employ in its fight to push proposed wind farms farther out to sea was severely reduced last week when Congress passed the new spending bill.

Excluded from it during negotiations between leaders of the two parties was a rider offered by Rep. Andy Harris (R-1) that would have eliminated funding for required wind farm site inspections if the farms were less than 24 miles from shore.

US Wind, as most people know by now, plans to erect the first phase of its installation 17 miles from the coast, with subsequent phases bringing towers much closer.

Without knowing how the spending bill talks went between Republican and Democrat negotiators — just like most members of Congress, who had to vote on the 2,000-plus page document without time to read it — we can only assume the Harris amendment was done in by continued bipartisan support for clean energy and the jobs it would create.

Ocean City’s particular circumstance and the Harris legislation, meanwhile, got no mention in the multitude of follow-up examinations of what was cut from the budget and why.

It further substantiates the feeling that, beyond Ocean City’s immediate boosters, what may be important to the resort isn’t registering with anyone else. This is especially so after the General Assembly also rejected a recent attempt to push wind farms out of sight from the beach.

These things do not augur well for resort officials’ last hope. That would be forcing the relocation of wind farms by returning to the Public Service Commission with the argument that a change in the size of wind turbines necessitates a new hearing on the projects overall.

A great deal can happen over the next year or two that could change everything, but given national voter support for clean energy projects that are located in someone else’s district, Ocean City’s chances of success in this fight aren’t none, but they do seem slim.

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