The United States offshore wind energy industry is growing, with planned commitments to build wind farms withthe equivalent of 26 nuclear power plants, roughly 10 times the average electric energy used by the entire state of Delaware.
Yet few viable port sites exist along the East Coast that have clear overhead access from port to sea to transport these large turbines — each larger than the Statue of Liberty — and channels deep enough to accommodate df vessels that would carry the towers.
A team of UD undergraduate students, advised by UD Professor Willett Kempton and energy policy analyst and doctoral candidate Sara Parkison, recently released a report identifying two ideal locations for a marshaling port in the Delaware Bay. The proposed locations include a site north of Delaware City near the former Occidental Chemical site and a location on land transferred from the Army Corps of Engineers near Salem, NJ.
The UD report comes on the heels of an announcement by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy about the Garden State’s plans to begin developing an offshore wind deployment port in Salem in 2021.
Even with the announced port in southern Jersey, the UD report shows it is likely not large enough to meet market demand for offshore wind by 2025.
It is unclear if a marshalling port in Delaware will come to fruition. So far, support for wind power in Delaware has lagged behind other states in the eastern U.S. However, Kempton and Parkison continue to pursue research and policy efforts that could allow a role for wind power initiatives in Delaware, including the Delaware City location identified as an initiative that would support East Coast states that develop offshore wind projects, with ample space to expand as industry demand increases.
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