BETHANY BEACH, Del.- Changes to the controversial wind farm project off the Delaware and Maryland coast.
Originally, the energy company proposed building its interconnection facility in Fenwick Island State Park. That’s no longer the case, but new ideas could still keep the project in Delaware.
Components for the proposed Skipjack Wind Farm may now be headed North. Since Orsted pivoted away from the original plans in Fenwick Island State Park, the company now says it’s looking at the Bethany, Cedar Neck area to connect its offshore wind power to the grid. But a decision for an exact landfall location has not been finalized.
Orsted says while it hasn’t decided between Bethany Beach and Cedar Neck it does hope to announce an alternative site within the coming weeks. Orsted has long said the project will bring clean energy and good paying jobs, but Senator Gerald Hocker doesn’t see the modified plans working out.
Hocker said, “The public was strongly against the Fenwick Island and I don’t know why they would think any different on bringing it in Bethany.”
Many people have expressed concerns about the wind farm and tourism. But the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce says a Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, where an Orsted wind farm was built in 2016, reported little to no negative impact on tourism. Orsted says the Skipjack wind farm will be a project the area is proud of, but Hocker says a proposal to bring transmission lines to Bethany Beach in the late 2000s failed, and he sees similarities with Orsted’s plans.
Hocker said, “The transmission line problem came up and everybody fought that, they did not want it in the exact areas where Orsted is talking about now.”
Orsted says it’s committed to construction the wind farm and associated infrastructure in a way that seeks to mitigate potential adverse impacts on local ecosystems and communities. The company says it still hopes to build Skipjack wind farm by late 2023, though it still awaits necessary permit approvals.
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