Energy Updates

Support Senate Joint Resolution to Protect Beach Communities

by David T. Stevenson

Center for Energy & Environmental Policy

(Picture source: Recycling Today)

February 13, 2024




Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is considering a permit request from developer US Wind to allow power cables from a "Maryland-approved" offshore wind project to come ashore in Delaware Seashore State Park at 3Rs Beach.


This project is in federal waters and awaits final approval from the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).


The cable permit is the only state-level opportunity to add conditions that US Wind must meet to protect our beach communities. Delaware's Senator Hocker and Representative Gray have proposed a Senate Joint Resolution to "protect Delaware's tourist industry and coastal economy."


We encourage Delaware's beach towns and Sussex County, Delaware, to support this resolution     


The resolution creates three irrevocable conditions that, if not met, will void the permit:


  • A pre-construction decommissioning bond be posted.
  • Decommissioned turbine components will be landfilled in Maryland.
  • Aircraft Detection Lighting Systems (ADLS) be deployed to limit nighttime flashing red lights.


In beach community town hall meetings, US Wind has claimed that they are already committed to posting pre-construction decommissioning bonds and using ADLS. Therefore, they should not object to these conditions. Our concern, unfortunately, is that the only enforcer of these conditions is BOEM. For example, "the now operational" offshore wind project Vineyard Wind under construction had these same conditions, but BOEM had waived them.


The Vineyard Wind's turbines are also 12 miles off the coast of Nantucket, MA, and the aircraft warning lights are very visible from Nantucket's shore. In comparison, US Wind's "Maryland-approved" offshore wind project is 9 miles off of Delaware's coast; therefore, Sussex County will definitely see the aircraft warning lights from its shore.


BOEM agreed to a post-project approval petition from the Vineyard Wind developer to push the bond requirement (pdf link)out to fifteen years after operations start and is working on a regulation to allow other projects to do the same.


There are additional concerns:


  • None of the 12 to 18 megawatt turbines used in the US onshore projects have been tested anywhere in the ocean.


  • Turbine supplier Siemens Energy lost $4.5 billion last year primarily making warranty repairs to relatively new 4 to 5 megawatt turbines sited onshore. With waves, currents, higher winds, and saltwater corrosion, ocean siting is much more hostile to these industrial-sized turbines. 


  • The turbines may not last fifteen years. 


  • Turbine manufacturers and wind project developers could go bankrupt and walk away from the decommissioning liability. Who pays for the decommissioning if project developers walk away? Do we want turbine blades in Delaware landfills for this Maryland-approved project?



Please show your support by emailing Senator Hocker and Representative Gray!


The proposed conditions in the Senate Joint Resolution are critical to protect our Delaware beach communities and present an excellent example of why beach towns and Delaware should NOT be rushing to sign "Good Neighbor" agreements with offshore wind developer US Wind.




Senator Gerald Hocker:

Representative Ronald Gray: