OCEAN CITY — Asserting “our view is not for sale,” resort officials recently rejected an olive branch of sorts from US Wind that could have provided free electric power and other concessions to Ocean City in exchange for relaxing its opposition to the distance of the offshore wind turbines.
Since the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) over a year ago approved two offshore wind energy projects, or offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) off the coast of Ocean City, town officials have been in a prolonged battle to have the proposed wind turbines sited at least 26 nautical miles off the coast, or the distance perceived to have the turbines not visible from the shoreline. The town’s concerns have largely been over the perceived effects on the viewshed from the Ocean City shoreline and potential impacts on property values and tourism.
The town’s efforts have included at least two resolutions passed by the Mayor and Council, a spirited letter-writing campaign between the town’s elected officials and the wind farm developers and even a failed attempt to mandate the 26-mile distance for the wind turbines by the Maryland General Assembly. Throughout the fray, US Wind officials have remained firm on siting the first line of its wind turbines on the western edge of its designated Wind Energy Area, or WEA, which has been approved by the PSC after careful study by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).