In her Aug. 13 Letter, Elizabeth Ferris asked some questions about clean wind power. Here are my answers.
Has DNREC considered the health risks of residents’ exposure to electro-magnetic fields from the tremendous amounts of energy?
The answer is yes. Federal government agencies have compiled research studies about this problem and published a thorough analysis (online) for non-technical people called “Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power.” Curiously, your exposure to a vacuum cleaner at home is greater than standing under the high-voltage lines running alongside Route 1 driving from Rehoboth Beach to Ocean City. There is no danger to humans from these fields. There will be even less exposure from the cable bringing the power ashore, as it will be buried 30 feet under the sand, which shields the EMF.
Are they aware of the exposed cables problem at the Orsted offshore wind development in Block Island, RI?
The answer is yes. Orsted is the world leader in offshore wind farm development, and the problem of those unintended exposed cables is a mistake from which they learned, adding to their growing engineering expertise. You can be sure no new wind farms will have that problem repeated.
What about the damage to the thousands of migrating birds and fish that will be put in harm’s way?
The University of Delaware has a land-based turbine that measures only 2.6 avian deaths per year. Migrating birds follow paths close to the coast. Wind turbines are located miles away from these zones. Some marine animals could be temporarily impacted by construction noise; the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has requirements that must be met before gaining construction approval. Fish benefit from the pylons, which act like a reef, attracting mussels and other marine critters.
Are they aware that wind farms depend on subsidies?
They used to, but not so much now. This year, Massachusetts and New York are getting bids for 5.8 to 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour — cheaper than conventional power. Wind power is an idea whose time has come! Cheaper, cleaner power for our country. Made in the USA, with the help of our Danish friends. How sweet is a Danish!?
This news just in: The Maryland PSC has approved Orsted’s bigger, more efficient/cheaper 12MW turbines.