"A difference of only twenty miles raises costs ten-fold," Blohm explains . "On the Delmarva Peninsula, the Delaware side of the state line has a more fully developed, and in this case, a more strategically located electric transmission system than Maryland's Eastern Shore."
While this does not prevent placement of offshore wind facilities in Maryland waters, it does complicate the interconnection process and may require a more regional approach to development, Blohm adds.
Radar and Military Interference: Of the mid-Atlantic radar facilities that might experience interference from the turbines, "the potential for diminished radar functionality exists at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility," the study reports. This is used by several agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA and the U.S. Navy.
"It's a huge hurdle, but this does not have to be a make-or-break issue." says co-investigator Sean Williamson, a CIER researcher. "Collaboration with the U.S. military and other users could reconcile any conflicts - if the parties are willing to compromise."
Additional conflict with U.S. military operations is likely to involve mobile radar units on planes and ships, as well as flight-testing, training exercises and munitions deployment.
Placing Turbines in Shallow vs. Deep Waters: The overall cost of developing and operating wind turbines in shallow or in deep waters off Maryland's coast would be about the same - roughly $1,850 per kilowatt, the study finds.
"Turbines in deeper waters may be better positioned to capture more wind energy, but transmission costs are higher," adds co-investigator Yohan Shim, a CIER researcher. Ultimately, the study finds that either location would be about the same in terms of economic feasibility.
|Contact: Neil Tickner|
University of Maryland