Fenwick Waiting On State Response To Wind Comments

FENWICK ISLAND – Town officials said they are still awaiting a response from the state regarding a public-private partnership that could bring millions of dollars in improvements to Fenwick Island State Park in exchange for an interconnection facility on park grounds.

In a meeting of the Fenwick Island Town Council last week, Mayor Gene Langan told community members the town continues to wait for a response from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Parks & Recreation regarding plans for a partnership between Orsted – the offshore wind farm developer – and Fenwick Island State Park.

“We have heard nothing from the state,” he said. “They have gone radio silence on the wind mills and the state park. I assume they are looking at all the responses they got.”

On Jan. 15, DNREC closed the comment period for proposed improvements, including new recreational amenities and infrastructure upgrades, at Fenwick Island State Park in exchange for Orsted’s use of park grounds to construct an onshore interconnection facility.

Late last month, a representative with Delaware State Parks said DNREC received 2,319 survey responses from the public.

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The conclusion of the public comment period comes months after DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation first presented proposed park improvements to the community.

In an open house last October, the division announced a proposal which, if approved, would allow Orsted to construct an onshore power transmission station at Fenwick Island State Park in exchange for millions of dollars in park improvements, including a nature center, new bathrooms, a pedestrian overpass and additional parking.

Orsted is one of the two companies holding permits for offshore wind energy farms off the coast. While its Skipjack project is considered a Maryland project, Orsted must bring its transmission lines ashore to connect to the power grid.

To that end, the company has targeted the Delaware state park as a future home for the interconnection facility.

Orsted Project Development Manager Ian Renshaw told community members last month that the company will provide more information after public comments are reviewed.

“I understand they got over 2,000 responses,” Langan said. “We just have to wait and see.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.