OCEAN CITY – State officials say they’ve narrowed the geographical area where a proposed 200-turbine wind farm could be built off the Maryland coastline and are moving quickly through the federal government’s lengthy permit process.
State and federal planners have narrowed down viable areas where turbines could be built in the Atlantic Ocean. They also want to comply with Ocean City’s request that all turbines be located at least 10 miles off the resort’s coastline.
There is no offshore wind active in North America, though several projects along the East Coast and Great Lakes are moving forward, including one east of Rehoboth Beach that would power 130,000 homes.
“Offshore wind is not a demonstration project, it’s not a research project – it works,” said Dave Blazer, with developer Bluewater Wind. “Europe has been doing this since 1991. Our technology that Bluewater is copying to bring to the U.S. is what they’re doing. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.”
Bluewater’s proposal would build 200 turbines along the coast at a cost of $1.6 billion. Each 26-story-tall turbine would generate 3 megawatts of power. Nighttime lighting is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, though Blazer said not necessarily every turbine would be lit.
About 500 jobs would be created just in construction, and hundreds more would be needed during the 25-year lifetime of the contract with a utility.
Indirectly, the wind farm could create up to 6,000 jobs, many of which they’ll strive to source from the mid-Atlantic, he said.
But Karen Guglielmo, an Ocean City property owner from Davidsonville, Md., still wondered if she would be able to see the turbines from the shoreline.
Blazer – giving a well-worn answer to a familiar question – said the tips of fan blades would be visible along the horizon only on clear winter days.
Scott Donnelly fishes the wrecks off the Maryland and Delaware coast. He said far out to sea, the coastline isn’t visible. Conversely, he doesn’t think the turbines will be easily seen from the resort’s beach or Boardwalk.
“Especially in the summertime, with hazy weather, you can’t see land,” he said.
But it won’t happen overnight, said Andrew Gohn of the Maryland Energy Administration.
“This is the beginning,” he said. “There are a number of steps that need to happen before there’s steel in the water.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding