The MV Ocean Discovery is preparing to survey the sea bottom off Ocean City to find solid places to set huge wind turbines. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)
I have investigated the issue of wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City in detail in my leadership role for two Maryland based environmental groups. O.C’s. resolution is reasoned and provides a successful blueprint for wind farms off resort beaches worldwide (“Ocean City finds wind turbines too gauche,” Feb. 6). The current wind farm proposal will damage O.C., have negative repercussions through Worchester County and it will substantially diminish the beach experience for the vast majority of beach goers.
The fire bell in the night is the key finding of a study conducted by North Carolina State University regarding the impact of wind farms on coastal tourism in North Carolina. In their news release of April 4, 2016, they found that in North Carolina “Fifty-four percent (of tourists) said they would not rent a vacation home if turbines were in view at all, no matter how large a discount was offered on the rental price.” Another 28 percent said they would need a discount if the turbines were within 12 miles. That’s an 82 percent informed rejection rate; how devastating would that be to Ocean City and its environs.
In my own research I can find no reputable party that disputes this well-crafted study . The NC State study spend thousands of dollars just getting the finest printing done to accurately portray what the turbines would actually look like . And their survey was only sent to known minimum week-long renters, 56 percent of whom had rented in the same place for five years or more. This is the core group that success or failure is based on.
Ocean City is not seeking to stop the wind turbines; just the opposite. It really wants them to be built. But build them in a sustainable manner that doesn’t create an devastating eyesore and impact to the beach we all love.