Ocean City Today

Wind turbines offshore still face many other obstacles

Businesses vent frustration over failing to block project through legislative process
By Kara Hallissey | Apr 12, 2018

(April 13, 2018) Resort business people used the Economic Development Committee meeting last Wednesday morning in Ocean City to express their disappointment with the failed effort to push wind turbines further offshore.

An amendment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-1) that would have blocked required federal evaluation of wind farm projects fewer than 24 nautical miles offshore was pulled from the $1.3 trillion spending bill signed by President Trump three weeks ago.

“We didn’t get the outcome we wanted and there is not much faith that the federal government will move [the turbines] east of the shipping channel,” said Councilman John Gehrig. “There is a way to work together with the wind company, if they are willing to do that.”

Gehrig said renderings already show the wind turbines would be visible from the coast, while the size of the turbines to be used continues to increase.

“The product continues to grow,” Gehrig said. “[The wind turbines] are at least three years away from being installed. The bigger they get, the more visible they are.”

The plan approved by the state’s Public Service Commission has the wind turbines starting at 17 nautical miles offshore, but the last phase of the project will only be 12.9 nautical miles away, Gehrig said.

Gehrig recommended Ocean City officials work with the federal government and public service commission to try to push back the project.

“There are still a lot of hurdles for the project,” Gehrig said. “We should utilize all angles and put pressure.”

Economic Development Committee President Michael James said the wind turbine projects are “possibly the biggest threat” to Ocean City in his more than three decades of living in the resort.

“Imagine working 20 to 30 years to buy a piece of heaven in Ocean City and they put turbines up and block that view,” James said.

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