Tourism wouldn’t be impacted with Maryland’s offshore wind projects

Published on : Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tourism wouldnIn the early part of this year, Maryland permitted two offshore wind projects that would establish the state as a clear leader of a new ocean energy resource.

 
However, many have expressed concerns that the wind farms could impact tourism in the Ocean City, where the turbines would be slightly visible from the shore.

 
But a new study and survey say that there is nothing to be concerned.

 
A poll recently asked 671 Marylanders if the views of the turbines would change their feelings about vacationing in the Ocean City. 75 percent of respondents said that the sight would make no difference, while 12 percent answered that the turbines would make them more likely to visit.

 

Also, for young folks in particular, the presence of turbines is a plus.

 
“People differ with respect to their perception of these things,” said Sage Policy Group’s Anirban Basu. “One of the things the research finds is that young people are much more likely to be attracted to the presence of wind turbines than people who aren’t so young. I think this creates another reason to visit Ocean City.”

 
That’s exactly what has happened in places that already have turbines in or near the ocean. Basu cited wind turbines in Atlantic City, which are a popular tourist destination despite located next to a wastewater treatment plant. And near Block Island, Rhode Island, home to America’s first offshore wind farm, an entrepreneur is starting a helicopter company to provide tourists with aerial tours of the wind farm.

 
Paul Rich of U.S. Wind said, “These two publications reflect what was also found during the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC) recent due diligence of offshore wind projects off of Ocean City. In their affirmative order, the PSC said it had received overwhelming public support for offshore wind, even if visible from the shore, during open public hearings, as well as, written communications regarding offshore wind in Maryland.”

 
With tourism concerns eased, the projects can bring important benefits to Maryland. The two wind farms could generate 9,700 direct and indirect jobs and add $74 million to Maryland’s tax revenue over the next 20 years.

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