To the editor: At a meeting in late September, Marylanders showed that they see global warming as the overarching issue it will be for the next decades.

The setting was a virtual hearing by the state’s Public Service Commission on expanding wind farms to produce electricity off the Maryland coast.

Politicians and some business owners argued that the next phase of windmill-like turbines would damage the beach experience for vacationers and thus threaten Ocean City’s reason to exist.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan asked why there was a rush to approve leases for a second wind farm before learning how the first phase turns out. A businessman argued the next phase should be pushed out further in the Atlantic, even though federal lease areas don’t extend there.

But those go-slowers were outnumbered 3-to-1 by speakers who said the time is now to keep wind power growing, according to news stories in OC Today, Maryland Matters and the Star Democrat.

The first phase — and its 22 turbines — is awaiting final approval from the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. But commercial operation is forecast to take till mid-2025, says U.S. Wind, one of two firms contracted to build phase one. Orsted is the other.

In the report by the respected online journal, Maryland Matters, the majority of pro-wind speakers did not point out how retarded wind energy is in the offshore United States. Perhaps no one mentioned that Brighton, England’s major beach resort, has had an offshore wind farm of 116 turbines since 2017. That installation is located just 8 miles from shore whereas Maryland’s project will be at least 12.5 miles away. Brighton also weakens the “spoil the view” argument. The British Tourist Authority reports that overnight visits to Brighton increased from 604,000 in 2017 to 615,000 in 2018, and then up again to 647,000 in 2019.

But the Brighton situation serves as a minor example of the U.S. backwardness in producing clean power from ocean winds. The Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm in the Baltic east of Denmark began operating in 1991, produced power reliably for 27 years and served as a model for comparison as turbine technology improved. It is being dismantled and its rotors recycled as noise barriers.

The dozens of supporters of wind-generated electricity at the public hearing apparently were not relating history or national comparisons. They simply said “that Ocean City might cease to exist altogether if renewable power projects aren’t advanced aggressively,” according to Maryland Matters.

A resident of Ocean Pines in Worcester County put it plainly: “The fact of the matter is, if we don’t act now, there will be no Ocean City.”

Of course, Maryland wind power cannot save the world — or even its own coasts — alone. Many more windfarms, solar panels, tidal captures, other renewable sources and massive rejection of fossil fuels will be needed in the U.S. and worldwide. But since Maryland has more coastline than most states to lose, it has a leading role to play.

Let us remind our District delegation to the Maryland legislature of this fact before they report for service to the 2022 session in Annapolis.

Linda Weimer

Chester Harbor

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.