BETHANY BEACH – Officials have halted discussions with NRG Bluewater Wind about its proposal to build a wind farm off the coast until the company agrees to compensate the town for study expenses.
In February, NRG representatives presented plans to bring power lines from their proposed wind farm ashore through transmission lines, which would run underground.
At the time, Mayor Tony McClenny directed Town Manager Cliff Graviet to seek independent expert advice on the potential impact to human health from the power lines and the environmental impact they may have. McClenny also ordered Graviet to ask NRG to cover the cost.
“The town has now formally asked NRG to pay these expenses and any other expenses the town might incur as it considers this very important issue for our community,” a post on the Bethany Beach website read. “To date, NRG has failed to agree to pay those expense. The (Town Council) will not consider any further review of the NRG request until NRG agrees to compensate the town.”
According to NRG spokesman David Gaier, the company and the town agreed that before NRG would commit to paying such costs there would be an agreement in place regarding the scope of the study, what it would cover, how much it would cost and when it would be completed.
“As soon as we work it out and resolve it … then we’ll move forward,” he said.
The proposed project would bring power lines ashore at the beachfront at Wellington Parkway where the cables would run under Wellington Parkway and Kent Avenue to an electric substation.
The project wouldn’t begin until 2013 and would be completed in about eight to 10 weeks, said NRG Founder and President Peter Mandelstam.
“We tried to pick the easiest route,” he said at a Feb. 18 public hearing. “At the end of the day, all you’ll see is manhole covers 15 feet apart.”
There were other possible locations for bringing the cable ashore, Mandelstam said, but Middlesex Beach officials decided they did not want the cables and Cape Henlopen State Park would’ve been too expensive.
Gaier said while it is unfortunate the town did not approach NRG before posting the notice on the website, the project isn’t dead.
“We’re in discussions with town leaders,” he said.
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