OCEAN CITY — Resort officials this week got a closer look at a second proposed offshore wind energy farm that includes fewer turbines further offshore, but still weren’t keen on the proposal and asked the developer to consider moving even further off the coast.
The Mayor and Council on Monday got an in-depth presentation from Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski on his company’s proposal to develop a wind energy farm off the coast of the resort. Deepwater’s proposal, called the Skipjack project, is considerably smaller in size and scope than another proposal presented by US Wind Inc. two weeks ago. Both projects are currently under consideration by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), which will decide by mid-May which company will ultimately develop the offshore wind farm.
The proposed Skipjack project calls for just 15 turbines in a designated Wind Energy Area (WEA) more situated off the coast of Delaware than the coast of Ocean City. As a result, the closest turbines in the Skipjack proposal would be roughly 20 miles from the north end of Ocean City and closer to 30 miles from the Inlet and downtown area.
By contrast, the much larger US Wind proposal calls for as many as 187 turbines and its WEA is situated more directly east of Ocean City. Perhaps more importantly, the US Wind proposal calls for the first line of wind turbines to be located just 12 miles off the coast of the resort. When the Mayor and Council got a closer look at the US Wind project and its renderings showing the turbines clearly visible on the horizon off the resort coast, they fired off a letter to the PSC voicing their opposition not to the concept of a wind farm in general, but the potential impact on the pristine views from the shoreline for countless visitors and oceanfront property owners. It’s important to note US Wind has since proposed to move the first line of turbines in their project back five more miles in an effort to placate Ocean City officials concerned about the views.