Roughly three weeks ago, Maryland Public Service Commission granted a request from Ocean City, Md. officials to hold a hearing, set Saturday, Jan. 18, on the impact of a proposal to install taller turbines than originally planned as part of two proposed offshore wind farms including Skipjack LLC wind farm, a project of the Danish company Ørsted, due east of the Delaware coast.
The commission has scheduled the hearing in rooms 215, 216 and 217 of the Ocean City Convention Center, 4001 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Md.
In a Dec. 13 order, commission Executive Secretary Andrew Johnston said the issue of viewshed was a significant focus during the approval process for U.S. Wind and Skipjack LLC, the two companies awarded Maryland’s offshore wind renewable energy certificates in 2017. While the commission will accept comment on the size of the turbines, it denied a request to reopen the case or reconsider the granting of offshore wind renewable energy certificates.
Discovery at the hearing will be limited to this topic, said Johnson.
The commission said Skipjack now plans to use General Electric’s Haliade-X, a 12-megawatt turbine that has a height of over 850 feet when a blade is straight up in the air. This wind farm would be due east of Delaware in a federal lease area that stretches along almost all of the state’s ocean coastline. The southern portion of the lease area is 17 miles from shore, while the northern portion is about 13 miles from the shoreline.
The commission said U.S. Wind is also considering a different turbine than was approved because the ones approved in 2016 are no longer commercially available. According to the commission, U.S. Wind has not made a final decision on the new size but is currently evaluating 8-, 10- and 12-megawatt units.
Written comments on this subject may be filed with the commission by Friday, Jan. 31, by first-class mail or hand delivery. Comments should be addressed to Andrew S. Johnston, Executive Secretary, Maryland Public Service Commission, William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul St., 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202.
Public comments can also be made through the commission’s website at psc.state.md.us. Instructions for logging into the system are under the tools sections of the website. The reference number of the U.S. Wind case is 9268. The reference number of the Skipjack case is 9629.
DNREC still accepting public comment on Fenwick Island proposal
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is taking public comment through Wednesday, Jan. 15, on Ørsted’s proposal to connect its power from the wind farm to the grid through a transmission connection in Fenwick Island State Park.
Ørsted has proposed roughly $18 million in improvements to the state park, including a two-story parking structure, a Route 1 pedestrian crossover connecting the bay and ocean areas, an outdoor amphitheater, housing for lifeguards, a new park bathhouse, a new building for the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, and an overall improvement in roadway infrastructure. According to drawings prepared by Ørsted, the connection facility would be taller than the tree line and approximately one acre in size.
For questions or to complete a survey on the project, go to destateparks.com/FenwickImprovements.