The World Shipping Council (WSC) has delivered strong criticism of a US government plan aimed at constructing a series of windfarms off the coastline of the state of Maryland, according to an industry media report.
An invitation for public comment on Maryland’s Request for Interest (RFI) was issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in late 2010.
Presently, the Maryland government is seeking private contractors to construct, and operate, offshore wind energy projects on the outer continental shelf (OCS) of the Maryland coast.
According to the report, approximately 30 blocks on the OCS has been made available for construction of the project. Each block is reported to be able to house up to 81 wind turbines.
Nine corporations had submitted indications of interest to BOEMRE before the deadline expired late last week.
The WSC, in a written submission presented to BOEMRE stated that the designated area “sits immediately south of and partially overlaps the southern terminus” of the current Delaware Bay Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).
The council argued that this area directly overlaps where vessels are approaching and leaving the port of Philadelphia have to pass through.
In the submission it added: “Given the fact that proposals to establish wind farms on the OCS have already been initiated and more are likely to follow, we recommend that the Coast Guard complete either a comprehensive Port Access Route Study (PARS) – assessing all current and planned OCS wind farm sites along the US East Coast – or conduct a PARS for each proposed state RFI area.”
The WSC argued that the creation of a TSS was a complex undertaking and required the approval of state and federal agencies, as well as the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The submission concluded by stating: “The effort to site and deploy emerging, clean energy technologies on the OCS should not create risks to the safe transportation of America’s waterborne commerce.”
The WSC document submitted to BOEMRA can be found on the American Shipper website.
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