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As Ørsted seeks interconnection site, Skipjack delayed until 2026

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The Skipjack Wind Farm is delayed until the second quarter of 2026 as Ørsted looks for an interconnection site. | PHOTO COURTESY GE
RENEWABLE ENERGY

BETHANY BEACH — Ørsted, the Danish multinational green energy company developing the Skipjack Wind Farm off Delaware’s coast, has delayed plans to bring its wind turbines online until the second quarter of 2026, four years after what it originally proposed.

The delay comes as Ørsted is continuing to search for sites for Skipjack’s transmission cable to make landfall and to build an interconnection site. Ørsted originally planned to do so at Fenwick Island State Park under a memorandum of understanding with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Those plans were ultimately dropped last July, after it became clear that construction would disturb wetlands at the state park. 

“Ørsted is using the additional time created to further investigate, evaluate, and optimize critical components of the project like cable landfall and interconnection,” said Brady Walker, Ørsted’s Mid-Atlantic market manager. “We are committed to a transparent process in making this important decision and will engage stakeholders at all levels before any final decisions are made.”

This is the second time in nine months that Ørsted has faced delays for its $720 million wind turbine project. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) moved slower than expected on its study of construction impact, bumping the project back to 2023.

Approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission in May 2017, the Skipjack Wind Farm was anticipated to go online in 2022. The project is approved for 15 GE Haliade-X 12-megawatt turbines 19 miles off the Maryland and Delaware coast.

Skipjack is Ørsted’s answer to the 2013 Maryland’s Offshore Wind Energy Act, which created a special carve-out for wind energy in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to not exceed 2.5%. The wind farm would power 35,000 homes in Maryland — more than the total number of homes in Ocean City, Md., alone — and the renewable energy credits would go to Maryland.

Since Skipjack is in federal waters and approved by Maryland regulators, Delaware would not see any benefits to its own green energy goals. When Ørsted and DNREC entered into an agreement, Ørsted pledged $18 million in park improvements, including park upgrades and amenities, including a pedestrian bridge over the Coastal Highway, an amphitheater and bathhouses.

Ørsted plans on presenting options for its interconnection site by the end of June. Walker stressed that the company is committed to a transparent process in its decision-making.

“Ørsted takes this process seriously and looks forward to presenting options and receiving feedback directly from communities and stakeholders,” he told DBT in an email.

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