More delays for wind farm off Delaware coast

Ørsted now doesn’t expect Skipjack to be online before 2026
March 12, 2021

For the second time in less than a year, and this time for much longer, Ørsted is pushing back the expected commissioning date for its Skipjack Wind Farm off the coast of Delaware.

In an announcement Feb. 26, Brady Walker, Mid-Atlantic market manager for Ørsted, said the Danish company had notified the Maryland Public Service Commission that it now expects Skipjack to achieve commercial operations by the end of the second quarter of 2026.

In April 2020, Ørsted announced it was pushing the anticipated completion date for the 120-megawatt-producing wind farm back one year, from 2022 to 2023. At the time, company officials said the reasons for that delay were because of COVID and the federal government taking longer to analyze the impacts from the build-out of U.S. offshore wind projects. 

Walker said part of the reason for changing the timeline at this point was the continued evaluation of sites for landfall and interconnection.

“Ørsted is using the additional time created to further investigate, evaluate, and optimize critical components of the project like cable landfall and interconnection,” said Walker, in an email March 1.

In fall 2019, the company proposed a connection site in Fenwick Island State Park, but it was not received well by many members of the public and elected officials representing seaside towns. In the end, after citing concerns about a large portion of undisturbed wetlands, Ørsted announced in July 2020 it was backing out of that proposal.

“We are committed to a transparent process in making our interconnection decision and will engage stakeholders at all levels before any final decisions are made,” said Walker.

The company notified Maryland’s public utility regulator because it’s the governing body that awarded the company the offshore wind renewable energy credits in 2017. The federal leasing site for Skipjack is roughly 20 miles due east of Delaware’s beaches. However, a 2013 law passed in Maryland established an application and review process for proposed offshore wind projects. The law also said sites had to be located on the outer continental shelf, between 10 and 30 miles off the Maryland coast. That distance pretty much encompasses all of the Delaware coastline – it’s not even 35 miles from Cape Henlopen State Park south to single-digit street names in Ocean City.

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