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Residents question plans for Fenwick Island facility that would connect to offshore wind

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

Some area residents are voicing concerns about plans for a wind farm off the Delmarva coast.

DNREC and the Danish offshore wind company Ørsted took questions at Indian River High School Tuesday night about the wind farm and a proposed partnership connected to it.

Hundreds attended. The event was hosted by state Sen. Gerald Hocker (R-SD 20) and state Rep. Ron Gray (R-HD 38).

Ørsted is seeking federal approval to build the 120 megawatt Skipjack Wind Farm 20 miles off the coast of Maryland and southern Delaware. 

A memorandum of understanding between Ørsted and the state signed in July outlines plans for Ørsted to build an interconnection facility on a 1.5-acre site on Fenwick Island. That agreement calls for Ørsted to pay for up to $18 million in improvements to Fenwick Island State Park including new playgrounds, bathhouses, an amphitheater and an overhead pedestrian sky bridge.

Former-Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach lives on Fenwick Island.

“There are no other stretches of undeveloped land between Ocean City and Lewes. It’s imperative that DNREC do its job to protect what little natural shoreline remains,” said Dudley-Eshbach at the meeting.

Selybeville’s Mohammad Akhter also questioned the secrecy of the MOU.

“I’d like to believe all you guys, because I believe in wind power, but the way the MOU was signed secretly … I don’t trust that all the things you say you will do you will do,” said Akhter.   

Others in Tuesday's crowd held up signs reading "Wind Power Now."

DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin says there is no legally enforceable agreement between DNREC and Ørsted and the plans in the MOU are conceptual.

The state is still seeking public input on the plan and a survey concerning the potential upgrades to Fenwick is live on DNREC’s website through Dec. 2nd.

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