FENWICK ISLAND, Del.- Wind farms are the center of attention once again as evidentiary hearings for the Skipjack project off of the Ocean City coast will soon be opened.
The Maryland Public Service Commission said it will open up the hearings to address concerns that were brought up at a public hearing held in Ocean City back in January. The commission will focus on the impact the turbine selection and change will have on local communities. Officials in Delaware, however, say that they feel as though they aren’t being included enough because of the impact it could have on the First State.
“Our goal is to make sure we have a seat at the table as they move along with this project,” South Bethany Mayor Tim Saxton said.
The PSC made this decision a month after a public hearing hosted in Ocean City had huge turnout.
“Based on the record in this proceeding, including comments by parties and members of the public, the commission finds that it is appropriate to conduct an evidentiary hearing regarding impacts related to the change in turbine size selected by Skipjack,” the PSC said.
The turbines are now estimated at 12 MW, larger than in the original plan. But Saxton thinks this hearing might not be the right step.
“I have a concern it’s perfunctory that they’re moving along,” he said.
But he also sees the reasoning.
“I mean I think it’s worth their while to look at the size if I read it right that the size of the turbines that are out there,” Saxton added.
Orsted says they’re happy to take part in the hearings to clear up any confusion. Joy Weber with Orsted said, “Skipjack Offshore Wind, LLC will participate in the Commission’s narrow inquiry on our longstanding commitment to deploy the best commercially available turbine technology for Skipjack.”
After a resolution was released by the mayor of South Bethany to review the improvements that could happen at Fenwick Island State Park, he thinks that there still needs to be more involvement from those that could be impacted in Delaware.
“We want to make sure that what we get from the deal for the state of Delaware is appropriate in funding,” Saxton said.
Gene Langan, the mayor of Fenwick Island, is still opposed to the project coming on shore in Delaware, which will not be addressed in the new hearings that will take place according to the PSC.
“We also passed a resolution opposing the improvements to the park as they’re designed now. And there’s a tremendous amount of opposition out there,” Langan said.
Orsted continues to say it is excited about bringing renewable energy onshore and creating thousands of local jobs. The PSC said the hearings will start once a final decision on the size of the turbines is chosen. Right now there is no set date for the evidentiary hearings to start. The state says that it needs to hear back from Skipjack before they can move forward.