Home Delaware Wind power company survey vessels will be stationed off Delaware coast

Wind power company survey vessels will be stationed off Delaware coast

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According to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, visitors to Delaware Seashore State Park will see an increase in activity in the coming months as US Wind and Ørsted conduct research and collect data to determine the path forward for their wind projects.

The wind power companies had earlier confirmed that survey vessels will be in the area.

Both companies plan to update and refresh information collected in the Indian River Bay in 2016 and 2017 and to conduct geotechnical work in the Atlantic and at some land-based locations. Separately, a Maryland study has been announced on the environmental effects of wind farms.

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It is likely that transmission lines from the Ørsted project will come inland in Delaware, possibly at the current site of the Indian River power plant. Indian River’s last coal-fired unit is slated for retirement

In 2017, the Maryland Public Service Commission awarded US Wind Offshore Renewable Energy Credits for the construction of a roughly 248-megawatt offshore wind project. A second 808.5 MW project received approval in December 2021.

Ørsted has also received approval from Maryland’s PSC for two projects: Skipjack Wind 1, a 120 MW project, and Skipjack 2, an 846 MW wind project. All four projects are proposed to be built in areas about 20 miles off the Delaware and Maryland coasts.

The projects have been opposed by Ocean City, MD officials who want the projects 30 miles offshore.

“Any project of this scope requires an extensive regulatory process, as well as considerable public input. Gathering the information is the first step,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

In 2019, Ørsted researched the possibility of using Fenwick Island State Park as a location for an interconnection facility. It was later determined that the location had environmental issues.

“We’ve heard the feedback of Delawareans who told us they want to be updated on offshore wind activities, including research. We want to ensure the public is aware of these activities and what the research entails,” Garvin said.

The research will include geotechnical investigations in the Atlantic and Indian River Bay, land-based geotechnical sampling at Delaware Seashore State Park and other work, including data collection on wetlands, rare species, and cultural resources.

The work also comes as a University of Delaware entity’s study commissioned by DNREC indicated that Delaware could buy offshore wind generation at affordable prices. That study has been attacked by the Glasgow-based Caesar Rodney Institute for alleged flaws.

CRI has also claimed the wind projects would hurt tourism by creating visual pollution, with its energy director joining in lawsuits aimed at halting wind projects in New England.

Ørsted and others in the wind power community say the turbines would be barely visible on the clearest days, with warning beacons only used when aircraft is in the area.

More wind power development could be on the way in the area with the U.S. Interior Department putting a large tract 20 miles off the Delaware coast up for proposals for wind generation.

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