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Orsted Announces Skipjack Wind Farm Project Will Be Delayed Again

Posted on November 17, 2020

OCEAN CITY, Md. — The completion of one of two proposed wind farms off the coast of Ocean City may be delayed for the second time this year, according to the company in charge of the project.

The completion of the Skipjack Wind Farm, which is being built by Ørsted, is facing another delay, according to comments by Ørsted CEO Henrik Poulsen last week.

“Assuming the permitting process starts moving within the first quarter of next year, it appears highly likely that Revolution Wind, Ocean Wind, Skipjack and Sunrise Wind will be delayed beyond the previously expected 2023 and 2024 construction years,” said Poulsen during a call with investors on Oct. 28.

The Skipjack Wind Farm is a proposed offshore wind project currently in the planning and regulatory review process. The project is slated to be more than 19 miles off the coast of Ocean City and the Delaware coast, and was originally expected to be completed in 2022.

Ørsted announced in April that the completion of the Skipjack project would be delayed until the end of 2023 due to issues with the federal regulatory process.

“The late 2023 timeline announced in April and filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission remains the official schedule for the Skipjack Wind Farm,” according to a statement from an Ørsted spokesperson Thursday.

The spokesperson referred Delmarva Now back to Poulsen’s comments regarding why the delay was happening.

The previous delay this year to the Skipjack project was due to the fact the federal government hadn’t issued Ørsted a Notice of Intent for the proposed wind farm, according to a statement from Ørsted to Delmarva Now from back in April.

Without the NOI, Ørsted can’t continue in the construction or the regulatory process.

Ørsted did expect its projects to get back on track going into this fall, Poulsen said. Ørsted has run into issues while waiting for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to issue its final report on the Vineyard Wind project.

The Vineyard Wind project is expected to become America’s first large-scale offshore wind farm if approved by the federal government, according to Vineyard Wind LLC. The project will be roughly 15 miles offshore of Martha’s Vineyard.

The Vineyard Wind project isn’t one of Ørsted’s projects, but has been under review by BOEM for more than a year after concerns grew that the proposed wind farm could have adverse environmental affects and negatively impact commercial fishing.

Ørsted expects BOEM to issue final report on the Vineyard Wind project by mid-November, but until then none of Ørsted’s projects can move forward, Poulsen said.

“As a consequence, we must proceed further permitting progress being pushed into early 2021, and this doesn’t this does constitute a significant delay,” Poulsen said.

During the call with investors Poulsen did say the Skipjack project and Ørsted’s other East Coast offshore wind farm plans do have some flexibility in their timelines, but a clear path forward isn’t available yet.

U.S. Wind, the developer of Maryland’s other offshore wind farm, also said in April it was delaying its project until late 2024 in part because of BOEM and the Vineyard Wind issues.

The MarWin Wind Farm project, which U.S. Wind is building, will be roughly 17 miles off the coast of Ocean City, according to U.S. Wind.

At the time U.S. Wind wanted to wait to see what additional requirements BOEM would place on the developers of the Vineyard Wind project before the Maryland developer moved forward in its process, said U.S. Wind Country Manager Salvo Vitale in a statement in April.

Source: delmarvanow

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