Proposed changes to Fenwick Island State Park

Proposed changes to Fenwick Island State Park if DNREC's agreement with Ørsted is approved

As if Delaware's beach resorts hadn't already taken a financial hit from coronavirus restrictions, the area's economy could be in line to get rocked again by a wind turbine project that could mean more money--for another state.

A project slated to be built in a federal lease area off Delaware's coast by Danish developer Ørsted would drive potential beach-goers away, according to studies done by the University of Delaware and the University of North Carolina, said the Caesar Rodney Institute's David Stevenson.

"Basically, between 15 and 35 percent of of tourists won't come back to a beach where there's visible turbines, and just to put this in[to] perspective, these turbines are huge," said Stevenson.

Stevenson said similar projects are being built up and down the East Coast, something Delaware might be able to turn to its advantage.

"What if the only place that didn't have [wind turbines] was the Delaware beach? How many people would come here instead of going to those other beaches? I mean, people go to the beach for the views," said Stevenson.

If the project is built where Ørsted wants it, as many as 200 turbines, each as big as New York City's Chrysler Building, would be as close as 12 miles from shore, and along with that, electricity savings from the turbines are mandated to go only to Maryland residents.