Visitors to Delaware Seashore State Park will see an increase in activity in the coming months as US Wind and Ørsted, two offshore wind energy development companies, conduct research and collect data to determine the best path forward for their wind projects.
According to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), both companies plan to update and refresh information collected in the Indian River Bay in 2016 and 2017, and to conduct geotechnical work in the Atlantic and at some land-based locations.
In 2017, the Maryland Public Service Commission awarded US Wind Offshore Renewable Energy Credits (ORECs) for the construction of a roughly 248 megawatt (MW) offshore wind project. A second 808.5 MW project received approval in December of 2021.
Ørsted has also received approval from Maryland’s PSC for two projects: Skipjack Wind 1, a 120 MW project, and Skipjack 2, an 846 MW wind project. All four projects are proposed to be built in wind energy areas off the Delaware and Maryland coasts.
“Any project of this scope requires an extensive regulatory process, as well as considerable public input. Gathering the information is the first step,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.
In 2019, Ørsted researched the possibility of using Fenwick Island State Park as a location for an interconnection facility. It was later determined that the location was not environmentally feasible.
“We’ve heard the feedback of Delawareans who told us they want to be updated on offshore wind activities, including research. We want to ensure the public is aware of these activities and what the research entails,” Garvin said.
The research will include geotechnical investigations in the Atlantic and Indian River Bay, land-based geotechnical sampling at Delaware Seashore State Park and other work including data collection on wetlands, rare species and cultural resources.