Ørsted will not bring an electric substation from its planned offshore wind farm to a portion of Fenwick Island State Park.
The Danish company had proposed paying $18 million that could be used for making improvements to the park under a preliminary agreement reached last year.
“Following the completion of more thorough evaluations of the area proposed for the facility, Ørsted has determined that a large portion of the site is comprised of undisturbed wetlands. Accordingly, Ørsted has notified DNREC that it will no longer pursue plans to build the interconnection facility at Fenwick Island State Park as initially proposed,” the company stated.
“Constructing an interconnection facility on a site with such an extensive presence of undisturbed wetlands runs contrary to Ørsted’s deeply-held commitment to building our business sustainably,” said Brady Walker, Mid-Atlantic market manager for Ørsted. “The Skipjack Wind Farm will deliver significant environmental and economic benefits to the Delmarva region, from good-paying jobs to renewable energy for tens of thousands of homes. However, Ørsted is committed to constructing the wind farm and associated infrastructure in a way that seeks to mitigate potential adverse impacts on local ecosystems and communities.
“As Ørsted pursues an alternative interconnection site, we look forward to continued discussions with DNREC and other stakeholders in the region to complete a project Delmarva residents can be proud of. We hope to make an announcement on our alternative interconnection site in the near future,” the statement concluded.
The company’s Skipjack project would be located about 19 miles off Delaware and Maryland. The project has been delayed as federal regulators study a host of such projects off the Atlantic coast.
The project has been opposed by nearby Ocean City, which wants the wind turbines further off the coast.
Fenwick’s Island Mayor and Council praised the decision from Ørsted not to proceed with bring their electric transmission lines onshore at Fenwick Island State Park.
Fenwick Island Mayor Gene Langan along with the six other coastal mayors of Association of Coastal Towns met last fall with Gov. John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin to express their concerns regarding the environmental impact to the area.
Mayor Langan responded to the news stating, “I am relieved to know that an environmentally sensitive area will be preserved and that Governor Carney, Secretary Garvin and Ørsted came to the same conclusion as Fenwick Island. Fenwick Island will continue to advocate for environmental stewardship of our unspoiled beach, ocean, and delicate ecosystem within our Town and the surrounding areas. It is a precious resource.”