Offshore wind company eyes park (Maddy Lauria)

Delaware’s Department of National Resources and Environmental Control has signed an initial memorandum of understanding with Orsted, an offshore wind company based in Denmark, to discuss leasing up to 1.5 acres in Fenwick Island State Park where Orsted could build an interconnection facility to bring power generated by the yet-to-be-built Skipjack Wind Farm to the electric power grid. In return, Orsted would fund improvements at the park, such as a two-level parking garage, pedestrian overpass, etc., costing in the range of $15-18 million. No state money would be required, said Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens.

What’s the catch, i.e., will the cost be passed on to the public in some way or another? So far, apparently, the answer is “no.” An Orsted representative is quoted that “it’s a Maryland project,” although he adds that “Delaware is becoming a really great partner in this process.” And Jeremy Firestone of the University of Delaware is quoted to the effect that even if the electric power winds up being consumed by Delawareans, “Maryland will get the renewable energy credits for the project.”

The story reminds readers that Gov. John Carney previously appointed an offshore wind work group to “study opportunities in the industry,” which met a dozen or so times in 2017 & 2018 and produced a 37-page report of recommendations and requests for more research.” For SAFE’s perspective on this study (written at the halfway point), see Offshore wind: a case study in how bad decisions get made,

Although, the ultimate result of the study was inconclusive, Delaware did stay out of the two wind power projects in the Delmarva area that were pending at the time. As the current article puts it, “Delaware officials took more of a wait-and-see approach on getting involved in wind projects – until this proposed partnership between state parks and Orsted came to light this fall.”

Let’s hope this partnership isn’t the harbinger of another ill-advised energy project, like Bloom Energy, where Delaware power customers or taxpayers would wind up getting stuck with the “excess cost” involved.

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