DNREC releases results of survey on possible Fenwick link to offshore wind project

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The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has released the answers to questions about the possible location of an electrical interconnection facility at Fenwick Island State Park.

Ths site would bring in power from the proposed Skipjack offshore wind farm.

Last year, Ørsted requested that DNREC consider allowing electric cables from the company’s proposed offshore Skipjack Wind Farm to connect underground to a possible interconnection facility on Fenwick Island park property.

In return, the park would get $18 million in improvements. The project drew immediate fire from wind power critics and some Fenwick residents who claimed DNREC was keeping the out of public view.

Ørsted anticipates a delay for Skipjack wind power project

DNREC has not made a decision on the use of Fenwick Island State Park as a landing for the power produced from the proposed wind farm.

The proposal is separate from regulatory considerations of the wind farm, which is part of Maryland’s plans to develop more alternative energy sources. The project has been delayed, due to regulatory matters with the U.S. government.

DNREC offered the following statements in regard to questions on the project:

  • “If the project is determined to move forward by the DNREC Secretary, the next step requires detailed planning and all associated permitting.”
  • “DNREC will not allow negative impacts to wetlands. Any unacceptable impacts to the environment will not be entertained.”
  • “A review of impacts to living resources (e.g. marine mammals, sea turtles, horseshoe crabs, birds, bats) would be conducted as part of the permitting process. Time of year restrictions are often placed on projects to protect living resources.”
  • “The proposed infrastructure improvements would remove a row of parking closest to the dune to allow the area to naturalize again and give the dune additional space to move. In addition, any new infrastructure would be designed to allow for dune movement.”
  • “Fenwick Island State Park has seen an increase in visitation as a result of increased visitors and development in the surrounding area. Regardless of any proposed amenities, the park is expected to only grow in popularity and stress existing infrastructure that is undersized for the demand. The proposed amenities will add capacity for the park and improve flow and experience for visitors.”
  • DNREC does not have jurisdiction over the distance and size of wind turbines from shore. Skipjack is 19 miles offshore. Ocean City, MD officials want the project 30 miles offshore.

DNREC received 2,692 survey submissions that offered feedback on the proposed park improvements.

Of those who completed the survey, 44 percent said they would like DNREC to renovate the existing parking area and/or create additional parking facilities, 32 percent want the bathhouse and restroom facilities to be renovated and expanded, 13 percent would like additional food concessionaires and 12 percent felt the proposed improvements would improve traffic flow and parking at Fenwick Island State Park.

Respondents also ranked proposed amenities from first to last, with walking paths to connect Fenwick Island, a nature center, and additional food concessions the most popular.

To see the survey results and read the questions and answers, go to www.destateparks.com/FenwickImprovements.

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