Crystal ball shows positive future with wind farms

January 23, 2024

When it comes to crystal balls that show us the future, to each his own. The anti-wind folks apparently see parents horrified by offshore wind turbines, making other vacation plans and leaving beach towns deserted.

My crystal ball shows me a different future. The beach is still the sand, surf, Boardwalk and Funland experience that children and their families have always enjoyed. The distant turbines are, to some beachgoers, an interesting and educational feature of the beach – tiny pinwheels solving huge problems.

My crystal ball shows other things too: healthier families who are breathing clean air instead of fossil fuel emissions, and the gradual mitigation of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, beach erosion and crippling heat waves.

It also shows a strong beach economy with direct and indirect jobs attributable to wind farms. And, because of the careful analyses of our scientific community – the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Marine Mammal Commission, among others – the crystal ball shows that to the greatest extent possible, we have reduced risks to our avian, fish and marine mammal populations.

You might be surprised to learn that more people are choosing my crystal ball. In a Jan. 9 poll, WRDE found the pro-wind energy vote outnumbered the anti-wind vote 60-40. A Nature Conservancy poll last April found that 77% of the respondents believe development of offshore wind should be encouraged in Delaware.

As a bonus, my crystal ball shows towns putting an extra $100,000 per year to good use for various municipal needs. The $2 million per city (spread over a 20-year period) community benefit funds that US Wind is offering are part of a customary offshore wind development process that is discussed on the BOEM website. If a city decides to discontinue the payments, that is its choice. All over the world, payments from the global wind developers to their host towns are accepted and utilized. Because cities have no power to deny a permit or approval, allegations that the payments represent some kind of quid pro quo are just wrong. 

Fossil fuel interests have ample reason to spin the facts and raise fears among Sussex County citizens. They want to maintain the energy status quo. But anti-wind folks would do well to take a clear look at the benefits of offshore wind and resist falling for their clouded crystal ball.

Mary Douglas


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