Maryland Town Turns Down Free Energy For Life From Wind Farm

In yet another example of green energy looking a little less attractive in reality than in theory, a resort town in the blue state of Maryland has refused the remarkable offer by U.S. Wind for free electricity for the life of the wind farm because the offshore turbines might ruin the picturesque view from the beaches.

While the decision ultimately falls to state and federal authorities, Ocean City officials are attempting to block creation of the wind farm despite U.S. Wind's increasingly generous offer, which now includes hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in community investments and free electricity for the life of the wind farm. That source of free energy, city officials worry, may turn away potential tourists and thus revenues.

"The 32-turbine project could be the nation’s second and largest offshore wind farm, and is part of a nearly decade-long effort to boost Maryland’s supply of renewable energy," The Baltimore Sun reports. The city, Mayor Rick Meehan said, would continue its lobbying of the Maryland Public Service Commission to repeal its decision to move forward on the project, demanding that the turbines be moved more than twice the currently agreed upon distance from shore.

The Baltimore Sun notes that the leadership of U.S. Wind has been both "surprised and frustrated" by the strong response of the city, particularly in light of the rather lavish offers by the company. Such offers of community investment, they say, have been generally welcomed in other shore cities.

U.S. Wind's general counsel Salvo Vitale described the town's demand that the turbines be built at least 30 miles away as not just unreasonable but infeasible, as it requires starting over in the offshore leasing process, which has already taken some eight years.

Last year, the state approved U.S. Wind building 62 turbines at least 14 miles from shore and Skipjack Offshore Wind LLC installing 15 turbines north of that project. Ocean City responded by aggressively lobbying against the project as "a clearer and more ominous picture of the project’s appearance took shape," The Baltimore Sun notes.

U.S. Wind is certainly not the only renewable energy company to experience "frustrating" pushback. As Hot Air's Jazz Shaw points out, the wind industry has found that the liberal state of Vermont is not so liberal about what and where and how green energy companies build, bringing some in the industry to the brink of giving up on the state. Clean Technica reports:

Vermont is considering some of the most restrictive rules on wind power in the country, even as it pushes for some of the biggest cuts to carbon emissions. In May, Vermont’s Public Service Board proposed a new rule for wind projects that includes strict setback requirements and noise limits. ... “None of the projects that have been built in Vermont to date could meet this standard,” said Olivia Campbell Andersen, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont.

The updated rule will make it much harder for the state to hit its renewable energy targets. Vermont aims to build up to 750 megawatts of wind power as part of a plan to source 100 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2050. There are 120 megawatts of wind power currently installed — and that was under the old rule.

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