Ocean City, Md. – Saying its 25-story white turbines will be barely visible from shore, representatives from Bluewater Wind discussed their plans for a wind farm off the coast of the resort town with the Town Council.
“The wind is free. Our fuel prices never change,” Jim Lanard, a Bluewater representative, said Tuesday.
Lanard said the company does not plan to increase prices during its 20-year contract because wind doesn’t cost them anything.
Lanard and Dave Blazer, Bluewater’s project lead for Maryland, explained that the company could build its 200-turbine offshore wind farm closer to the beach, but plans to build 12 miles out in deference those who don’t want the giant steel windmills churning closer to the shoreline than necessary.
“We don’t want to see them,” Mayor Rick Meehan said at the work session on Tuesday. “Standing on the beach, we don’t want to see them.”
Councilman Jim Hall agreed, saying the project could be more popular if the turbines were invisible from land.
“If you can’t see it,” Hall said, “then you can add acres and acres of wind farms. I think people are going to eat it up.”
Lanard said pushing the turbines farther out to sea makes the project more expensive – it costs $1,000 for every foot of cable connecting the wind farm to the shore. There will be four such cables, Lanard said, stretching 12 miles each, at a cost of about $253 million.
If Bluewater installed turbines at the three-mile minimum, where federal waters begin, the cable would cost about $63 million.
Lanard said the waters off Ocean City are ideal for the proposed wind farm because of the closeness to the resort itself as a consumer of power and because it’s a straight shot back to shore to connect with planned electrical substations.
Delaware’s 60-70 turbine wind farm is expected to power 50,000 homes, while the Maryland project is expected to power 136,000 homes.
16 July 2008
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