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US Wind calls out opponents

Ocean City’s criticism based on ‘misunderstandings’, says developer

US Wind calls out opponents image

US Wind officials are trying to convince Ocean City councilors their attack on offshore wind development is unfounded.

Council this week passed a resolution opposing turbines within view of Ocean City, which would push them about 42km offshore.

The developer’s 268MW Maryland project starts 27km away while Deepwater’s 120MW Skipjack is planned 31km northeast of the city coastline. Both projects are sited in federal waters.

US Wind president Riccardo Toto has requested a meeting with council “to work collaboratively” to resolve the city’s concerns and correct some “misunderstandings”.

“We no longer have plans to use 187 turbines in the Maryland wind energy area,” Toto said in a letter to council.

The project design has evolved and the developer is now considering 8.4MW machines, which would cut total units to about 32.

US Wind is also seeking approval to install a motion-detection lighting system currently used in Europe to minimize the nighttime view.

Toto points out that Ocean City “actively participated” in a four-year stakeholder engagement process with federal regulators to define the offshore lease area.

“To suggest Ocean City has been ‘left out of this from the very beginning’ is incorrect,” said Toto.

Moving the project further east “is not a possibility”, he added.

As a condition of approval, Maryland regulators directed US Wind to create 3,580 in-state jobs and to put its operations and maintenance port in Ocean City.

“We are currently conducting site assessments and expect millions of dollars worth of upgrades to be spent on facilities within Ocean City,” said Toto.

Image: Ocean City, Maryland (US Army Corps of Engineers)

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