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Windmills in the Ocean

 


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Serious discussions and negotiations have been taking place regarding the possibility of constructing windmills off of the coasts of the States of Delaware and Maryland. During the warmer months of the year, this resort area blossoms in population to nearly 500,000 people and efforts in Ocean City, MD through conventions and festivals have made it almost a year round destination.

With these big crowds comes the need for lots of electrical power and the question of how to supply it. Recent attempts to construct windmills atop of some of Western Maryland's mountains failed mainly because the huge structures would be an eyesore to the currently beautiful views.

The windmills which are being contemplated for the ocean waters would be nearly 25 stories tall. It is likely that they would be located at least 3 miles off shore where federal waters begin, but more likely would be closer to 12 miles off shore to keep them out of view. The trade off would be a higher cost for the additional cabling required to go the extra distance out to sea, however, this would then have minimum impact on the main reason why people flock to this region, which is, of course, the sand, the surf, and the sun.

The governors of Maryland and Delaware support the idea as do government representatives of Ocean City, provided the windmills are out of sight. However, also, to be considered is the environment and how these structures might impact the ocean wildlife. Practical knowledge does exist regarding the potential impact, because windmills have been used off of the coasts of England and Belgium for several years with no significant impact on the environment.

With a free and plentiful supply of wind which should not effect industry or property values it sounds like a winning scenario for many people. And who knows maybe these giant fans could be cranked up in reverse to blow hurricanes off shore or to increase the wave size to allow for great surfing opportunities . . . or not.

Ron Trzcinski

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