Energy Updates

Stevenson: Offshore Wind is a Costly and Unreliable Electricity Source

CRI favors less costly and reliable renewable/natural gas energy mixes to reduce CO2 emissions


by David T. Stevenson, Director

March 7, 2024



An opinion piece published on February 29th, authored by an offshore wind advocacy group, directly attacks the Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI) for opposing offshore wind projects off the coast of Delaware beaches. The opinion piece contains numerous false statements that deserve to be addressed correctly.



Property Values


According to a 2021 Delaware tourism report, tourists spend $2.7 billion a year in Delaware's beach communities. According to Zillow average home values in beach zip codes averages over $1 million. CRI efforts opposing offshore wind are entirely funded by beach community members. They share our concerns about the potential impacts of industrial-sized turbines on the environment, tourism, property values, and dramatically higher electric rates.  


Environmental Impact Statement


The federal agency that approves all offshore wind projects states the following in its environmental impact statement.







DNREC's Offshore Wind Procurement Proposal


Not many of you are aware, but at the end of 2023 (12/29/2023), the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNERC) released its proposal for legislation requiring Delaware electric utilities to procure offshore wind power to help reduce CO2 emissions. Within this plan, the "cost modeling" they used to analyze the impact on electricity rates ("without a significant increase in cost to consumers") was the same model used for previous "proposed offshore wind" projects that never came to fruition but instead were abandoned by developers.


NOTE: Last year, our regional electric grid (PJM) averaged about $35 a megawatt-hour for wholesale energy and capacity. In the last month, approved prices for new offshore wind bids in New Jersey were $167/MWh and $206/MWh, nearly five and six times as much. Similar prices in Delaware would result in annual residential electric bill increases of $525 to $650, with business costs rising tens of thousands of dollars a year.



Surveys Point to Lost in Property Values


Surveys conducted by the University of Delaware (UD) and North Carolina State University suggest tourism may fall between 24% and 54% when corrected for today's taller turbines. The UD study admits property values will fall but provides no details. A new study from the University of Connecticut suggests home values might fall as much as 11% the first year after highly visible turbines are built.



Renewable/Natural Gas Mixes Proven to Reduce CO2 Emissions for Delaware


In conclusion, offshore wind is by far the most expensive way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Our regional grid saw emissions fall 43% from 2005 to 2023 by switching from coal to natural gas and adding a small percentage of onshore wind and solar power. This caused the wholesale electric rates to fall from $58/MWh in 2005 to $39 in 2023, or 33% lower. Delaware can continue these trends going forward. 


Delaware can also add carbon dioxide capture at coal and natural gas power plants and build advanced small modular nuclear power plants at lower power costs than offshore wind while maintaining reliable baseload power plants.




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