News from State Senator

Bryant Richardson

Serving the 21st Senatorial District

January 25, 2024

Coastal communities offered 

community benefits package 

According to a December 28, 2023 press release from The Hatcher Group, a communications and marketing firm, ‘US Wind has formally presented to the Delaware Association of Coastal Towns (ACT) a package of community benefits for the good of Delaware’s coastal residents.’ 

ACT is comprised of seven coastal communities: Lewes, Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island. 

According to the press release, the ‘community benefits package includes annual payments over twenty years, worth two million dollars to each town.’ 

‘The payments would begin if and when US Wind begins construction on its first project, MarWin,’ the press release said. 

Public hearings are being held in those coastal communities to discuss this ‘community benefits package’ offer. 

David T. Stevenson, director of the Center for Energy & Environment at the Caesar Rodney Institute, expressed his concerns about offshore wind projects in a recent letter to Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills. 

Following are quotes from Stevenson’s letter: 

...many folks believe these projects are a done deal. Far from it. 

That was said in 2019 when public pressure ended the effort to bring power ashore in Fenwick Island State Park. 

It was said in New Jersey about Ocean Wind, but 50 beach towns and Cape May County opposed the projects with resolutions and lawsuits. 

Eight towns sued the state over issuing permits to bring cables ashore in violation of coastal zone regulations.

The county sued the federal government over violations of several federal laws. Citizens of Nantucket filed similar lawsuits.

That pressure kept the state from granting higher subsidies and the projects are gone.

North Carolina has walked away from offshore wind in favor of nuclear power at half the cost. 

The Empire Wind project off Queens, NY was a done deal, and it is gone along with four other projects in New England. 

Delaware Beach towns have the same options to bring lawsuits. 

In a January 5, 2024, letter Stevenson said: 

As expected a state environmental agency (DNREC) has recommended legislation be passed requiring procurement of Delaware electric customer subsidized offshore wind power, Stevenson noted. 

Out of 23 offshore wind projects either approved or close to approval for construction, 10 have been canceled and seven more appear to be in financial trouble and may be canceled. 

All the projects have large state and federal subsidies but project cost estimates have been rising and are not profitable enough to attract financing. 

Given the current turmoil in the offshore wind industry, the simple fact offshore wind is the most expensive generation source by far, and alternative generating sources are available, the legislature should not waste its time discussing a procurement bill. 

Considering the risk to the tourism business, our coastal communities should think twice about taking any ‘community benefits package’ payments. Would not consumers ultimately be the ones paying for these benefits packages? 

Good proposals have obvious benefits and do not require payments to persuade others to accept them. 

Closure of the Woodland Ferry

The Woodland Ferry will be closed from January 22nd through January 29th.

411 Legislative Ave, Dover, DE 19901
302-744-4298 [email protected]