Two noteworthy wind power developments came to light last week.
First off, The Delaware Department of Natural Resources released a report it commissioned from a University of Delaware wind power consulting group.
Just to the south of Delaware, US Wind commissioned a $10 million study from the University of Maryland on the effects on marine life for its project off the coast of Ocean City. The study should also provide insights into the adjacent Ørsted Skipjack Wind project, about 19 miles off the coasts of Delaware and Maryland.
One of the effects of offshore wind on marine life could be positive since platforms for wind turbines can attract fish. That phenomenon led Delaware to sink everything from New York subway cars to ships to form reefs in areas with limited marine life. However, questions remain about wind power and migration patterns among threatened and endangered species.
In the meantime, there’s a lot to digest in the University of Delaware report, from the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind.
The report notes that the economics of offshore wind has improved dramatically in recent years, with costs that are competitive with other forms of generation.
One thing is clear. Costs go up when job creation becomes a priority. The report cites comparisons among planned offshore wind locations and shows differences in generating costs if job creation is front and center.
Size also matters. Larger offshore wind projects drive down electricity prices. In the case of Delaware, the largest and most cost-effective wind farm could produce more electricity than the state needs. That scenario would require contract provisions to sell the power and further upgrades to the grid.
It appears Delaware would be better off making electrical generation the top priority due to its small size and higher electricity costs.
While not offering recommendations, the UD report shows that the state with options as more areas of the coast become available for wind power and developers pay good money to the federal government for those rights.
With these choices comes the need for the state to become more proactive in securing offshore wind power to meet its alternative energy goals.
As things currently stand, Delaware would have to buy wind power from nearby states where we see not in my backyard opposition, as well as some buying into falsehoods and conspiracy theories.- Doug Rainey, chief content officer