Economic impact of potential offshore wind project

Lower Shore Wind sign

The Maryland Public Service Commission recently approved subsidies for two offshore wind projects to be developed off the coast of Ocean City.

While that may be good news for some, it’s concerning for others.

It is the reason meetings, town halls and other events are being held, so that residents and officials can learn and make good decisions.

Ocean City officials have raised concerns about the potential economic impact of an Offshore Wind project.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said, “We’re concerned about the visual impact. We’re concerned about the horizon off the coast of Ocean City. The view that people people have enjoyed forever. The 26,000 property owners that purchase property and own property in Ocean City visitors.”

Maryland-based economist, Anirvan Basu, conducted research on economic impacts and presented that research in Ocean Pines Friday.

Basu said, “As far as I’m concerned, I look at observed experience, whether in Europe or North America or elsewhere, and what I observe and the research is people expect the worst. And the worst does not happen. In fact, the outcomes are actually quite good.”

Ocean City officials said they are not necessarily in opposition to the project, they just want the turbines to be further out at sea.

Mayor Meehan said, “We want to see everybody work together. Move this wind farm a little further offshore, that will solve our concerns, it will make it a better project. You only get one chance to do it right, let’s do it right.”

Some locals believe the turbines could be a good thing, even visually attractive.

William Beckman, a local, said, “I think if I was a little kid jumping in the waves 3 or 4 years old in Ocean City, and I looked out there to see the windmill farm, I’d say, hey dad, what’s that?”

The town of Ocean City learned, however, that the FAA requires every turbine to be lit at night with a noticeable flashing red light.

Ocean City Engineer, Terry McGean, said, “So 200 flashing red lights, and they have to flash, essentially, in sequence.”

Following the Ocean Pines meeting, the turbines are still up for debate, but officials hope the issue will be resolved soon.

McGean said, “Maybe this will hurt it, maybe it won’t, but we want to know before we put 200 of these things off our coast.”

As of right now, the turbines are planned to be constructed between just 12 and 21 miles from the Ocean City coast.

Ocean City officials want the turbines to be at least 27 miles offshore, where they won’t be seen.

Categories: Local News, Maryland