Representatives from the two companies looking to build wind farms off the coast of Delaware and Maryland say it’s too early to tell if a recent ruling by a federal court judge saying General Electric cannot make or sell its Haliade-X turbine in the United States will lead to delays in getting the wind farms built.
U.S. District Court of Massachusetts Judge William Young ruled Sept. 7 that General Electric Co. is not allowed to produce its 850-foot-tall Haliade-X wind turbines in the United States. In June, a jury found the turbines infringed on patent owned by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S.
Ørsted spokesman Brady Walker said Skipjack Wind does not anticipate this decision will impact its timing.
“The project continues to develop its construction and operations plan in order to deliver clean energy to nearly 300,000 homes in the Delmarva region,” said Walker in an email Sept. 13.
In August 2020, Ørsted asked for, and then received, permission from the Maryland Public Service Commission to change the turbines it wanted to use from a smaller model to the Haliade-X.
Ørsted will follow any processes that are required by regulators, including the Maryland Public Service Commission and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said Brady.
US Wind spokesperson Mike Dunmyer said the company hasn’t made its final turbine selection yet, so it has flexibility.
“We’re not involved in the GE litigation, but like everyone in the industry, we’re watching it. Ultimately, we don’t expect the suit to have any impact on our schedule,” said Dunmyer.
Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber hosts wind power panel
The Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce hosted a wind power informational panel during its monthly luncheon Sept. 14. Dunmyer, Walker and David Stevenson, Caesar Rodney Institute Center for Energy & Environmental Policy director, were the panelists. Each was given 10 minutes to talk to members.
Stevenson said all the economic benefits of wind farms are going to Maryland and New Jersey because they’re the ones issuing the renewable energy credits.
Stevenson said projects will negatively affect the area’s tourism industry, dominate the viewshed along the beach and be environmentally harmful to animals in the lease area. Additionally, he argued, there are less-expensive renewable energy options available, like solar power.
Stevenson called into question a University of Delaware study saying the turbines could lead to an economic benefit. There’s no night data and there’s no data on costs because University of Delaware favors the projects, he said.
Walker said the Skipjack proposal is currently in the site assessment phase of the project. The wind farm is expected to be online by 2026, he said. There’s still an enormous amount of opportunity for public participation in the approval process, he said.
In addition to renewable energy, Walker listed a number of benefits people in the area will see – considerable upgrades to the electrical grid and jobs.
Addressing the cost issue, Walker said similar to other technology, the costs of wind power production continue to go down.
Dunmyer also talked about the jobs and other local investments that will be part of these projects, including, he said, a new offshore wind training facility at the University of Delaware.
Something needs to be done about coastal flooding, said Dunmyer. Decisions made today will shape the futures of the kids and grandkids of tomorrow, he said.
Rehoboth Beach holding offshore wind meeting Sept. 27
Rehoboth Beach announced commissioners will hold a special meeting related to offshore wind projects at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27, at city hall, 229 Rehoboth Ave. The public meeting is designed to inform commissioners and local residents about offshore wind projects proposed off the Delmarva coast. There will be presentations from representatives of eight organizations as well as a question-and-answer session.
In a prepared statement, Mayor Stan Mills said the goal of this meeting is to provide for future cognizant discussions by the mayor and commissioners so they are able to come to an informed position on such projects. The public is welcome at this meeting, he said, but opportunities for public opinion and comments will be provided at future public meetings.
In addition to another round of presentations by Dunmyer, Stevenson and Walker, the special meeting will include presentations by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on the federal government’s role and processes for establishing offshore wind farms; Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control on the state government’s role, processes, and permitting; Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and City Manager Terry McGean on impacts of offshore wind farms on Ocean City, Md.; University of Delaware School of Marine Science and Policy’s Dr. Jeremy Firestone on science-based studies on resident, visitor attitudes toward offshore wind projects; and University of Delaware School of Marine Science and Policy’s Dr. Willett Kempton on cost and policy options for offshore wind.
Presentations and Q&A will be moderated by Bonnie Ram, director of Ram Power Consultancy and senior researcher at the University of Delaware.
The meeting will be livestreamed and recorded for later viewing anytime via the city’s online legislative portal. Questions from members of the public can be submitted in advance by emailing email@example.com. Indicate to whom questions are to be directed, and provide a name and affiliation.