There are two large wind-turbine projects proposed off our beaches. The lease area extends from the inlet at Ocean City north to Rehoboth. US Wind (an Italian company), according to their website, plans to install as many as 187 wind turbines. Orsted (a Danish company) plans to initially install 12 wind turbines that are 845 feet tall, with more likely coming after that.
The Ocean City government opposes the location of the wind turbines, which could be as close as 12 miles from shore. These large turbines would be visible most days and most certainly at night from their flashing red warning lights.
Ocean City is concerned that visible wind turbines will damage the local tourist economy, depress home values, and reduce the tax base. Instead, they ask that the turbines be located at least 35 miles from shore, where they will not be visible. Several university studies support the concern that dozens of visible wind turbines will damage the local economy.
So what about the number of jobs created, cost of energy, and the impact on local wildlife?
The wind tower components will be manufactured overseas since we lack the infrastructure to do so. They will be installed by experienced European crews. The Maryland Public Service Commission paid for a study by an energy consulting firm (Levitan and Associates) that determined that the wind turbines would actually increase regional air pollution emissions. So the “clean energy” created really won’t be clean. Just read the report and you will see.
Instead of the many thousands of jobs US Wind and Orsted claim will be created, there will only be about 55 permanent jobs in Phase 1, at a cost of $3.5 million each per year. You see, the energy produced will cost area homeowners and businesses an additional $175 million annually, and this is in addition to the nearly $2 billion in subsidies the wind developers will receive courtesy of local taxpayers. The poor would be harmed most by higher energy prices since they pay more for energy as a part of their total income.
There is also the question of the impact on birds, mammals and marine life. Wind turbines are known to kill many thousands of birds annually. Our area is an import part of the Atlantic Flyway. Millions of birds travel annually through here from as far away as the Arctic and South America. The commercial fishing industry opposes offshore wind turbines. The impact on the important horseshoe crab, whose blood used globally to test vaccines and medical implants, is unknown, as is harmonic frequencies and electromagnetic fields on mammals and fish life.
It is important that we protect the environment, but it is also important that area residents know the truth about what our future would look like with many dozens or more wind turbines visible from our shores. At the very least, they must be moved out of sight of land.