Government / Industry

Government Approves Wind Farm Off Ocean City

Government Approves Wind Farm Off Ocean City

The Obama administration opened Maryland’s coast to offshore wind farms Monday and is seeking bidders to erect more than 300 turbines in a 206-square-mile area off the coast of Ocean City.

The move makes Maryland the second state in the nation, after Delaware, to have reached this stage in off-shore wind development.

The closest turbines to the coast will be roughly 10 nautical miles from Ocean City
and won’t be able to be seen from the beach, according to the U.S. Department of the

Roughly 300 spinning turbines could power about 30% of Maryland’s energy needs, according to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration.

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  1. Ham

    November 15, 2015 at 12:38 am

    The planning dernetmpat report completely ignores input from the Hamilton Municipal Airport/Airpark Commission, which is concerned with the construction of a high concentration of wind turbines within 8 nautical miles of the airport. Such a concentration of wind turbines in close proximity to a public-use airport is unprecedented to my knowledge, especially considering that the construction of the smaller and shorter Crow Hill resulting in the modification of instrument departure procedures from the airport, and the re-design of GPS approaches to runway 17. Both of these modifications negatively impacted instrument operations and the ability to utilize the airport in poor weather conditions.The FAA approved those towers as well prior to construction, and that didn’t work out too well, as they missed some rather obvious impacts on flight safety, and acted to modify procedures only after local pilots complained about the proximity of the wind turbines to the airport departure path.All of the proposed wind turbines in the Eastern Wind District would lie within the Class E airspace transition zone for the Hamilton Airport, which starts at 700 AGL. (Class E airspace is controlled airspace reserved for instrument flight operations; It is closer to the ground in proximity to airports with instrument landing and departure procedures.) The proposed turbines would be as tall as 500 AGL within that airspace. If fully developed, turbines would present a large swath of obstacles along the entire northeast quadrant (approximately 0-90 degrees) of approach to the airport. While instrument pilots should be able to avoid them, these tall towers will represent a significant safety-of-flight risk for VFR (visual lflight rules) pilots especially in low visibility or night conditions.The statement within the planning dernetmpat report that there is no reason to set a maximum turbine height is difficult to understand when considering the location of Hamilton Municipal Airport.Hamilton Municipal is the only public-use airport in Madison County. According the the NYSDOT, the Hamilton Municipal Airport generates $6 million of economic activity annually to the region. It would be a shame to needlessly surround it with obstacles that will hinder its ability to function as it should. With as many as 50 500-foot tall turbines surrounding the airport if developed as proposed, an aircraft-turbine collision may be all but inevitable.

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