Kentucky or Maryland
State officials announced plans Tuesday to fill nearly a quarter of the government's annual electricity needs with power supplied by clean energy projects from the Delaware coast to the Appalachian ridge tops.
The state will sign 20-year purchase agreements with four wind and solar developers, demonstrating Maryland's commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2020, Gov. Martin O'Malley said.
Gov. Martin O'Malley's desire to build offshore wind turbines as part of Maryland's renewable energy program is running into an unexpected source of resistance: the military.
The fear is that turbines placed in the Atlantic Ocean could disrupt flight and weapon test ranges, as well as erroneously appear on radar as unidentifiable aircraft, which could trigger false alarms in an era of high terrorism alerts, military officials said.
Baltimore-based Constellation said it has agreed to acquire the $140 million Criterion wind project from Clipper Windpower Inc., which had proposed putting 28 tall turbines atop Backbone Mountain near Oakland. It was the first of three commercial-scale wind projects to win state approval under a 2007 law meant to promote wind energy development in Maryland.
Meanwhile, CPV Renewable Energy Co., with headquarters in Silver Spring, plans a 10-megawatt "solar farm" near Waldorf, to be built alongside an already proposed natural gas-burning power plant.
The O'Malley administration's desire to build offshore wind turbines as part of its renewable energy program is running into an unlikely source of resistance: the military.
The fear is that turbines placed in the Atlantic Ocean could disrupt flight and weapon test ranges ..."When you start to place turbines out in the Atlantic Ocean, they will create an artificial image on the radar, and we might not be able to see aircraft because we think the aircraft is really the turbine spinning around out there," said Todd Morgan, president of the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance.
The commission was appointed by West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, at the request of the Pocahontas County Commission. The PCC questioned the border after surveyor Jeff Hiner of Monterey marked the border more closely than the established U.S. Geological Survey line. Hiner had been hired by Highland New Wind Development LLC to survey property owned by the McBride family, which is erecting a 38-megawatt wind energy utility in Highland County, Va.
When Pocahontas learned of the new survey, officials were concerned about the accuracy of the border, since at least one of the turbines was within a few feet of the state line.
The Public Service Commission conditionally approved a wind energy project in Garrett County Wednesday, the third expedited application it has moved forward.
Synergics Roth Rock Wind Energy LLC and Synergics Wind Energy LLC plan to build a 20-turbine facility on Backbone Mountain, generating 50 megawatts of power.
A controversial wind farm project in Mineral County goes before the state Public Service Commission starting Monday. The PSC will hear evidence from Pinnacle Wind Force, the group hoping to build 23 wind turbines on top of Green Mountain near Mt. Storm.
KU and sister company Louisville Gas and Electric Co. plan to purchase wind power from the breezy prairie of northern Illinois to help meet what they expect will be federal requirements to increase their use of renewable energy.
Last month, they asked the Kentucky Public Service Commission for permission to add a "renewable resource clause" to customer bills so they can recover the costs of the pricier wind power and transmission.
A proposed West Virginia wind power project will harm a tiny, endangered bat and its developers should be should be required to obtain permits under the Endangered Species Act, attorneys for two environmental groups argued Wednesday in federal court.
The developers admit bats will be killed by the turbines, but refuse to acknowledge the endangered Indiana bat will be among them, plaintiffs attorney Eric Glitzenstein argued in his opening statements.
The 124-turbine wind farm being built by Rockville-based Beech Ridge Energy would put the lives of endangered Indiana bats, and other bat species, in danger, according to the plaintiffs -- The Animal Welfare Institute, Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy and David G. Cowan.
Plaintiff's witness Michael Gannon, a bat biologist and professor at Pennsylvania State University, said he is "very much in favor" of wind energy, but remains concerned that this project could have a devastating effect on the Indiana bat.
Several additional companies have inquired about the possibility of building windmills in Tazewell County, officials confirmed Monday.
Although Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America are planning a large-scale wind turbine farm for East River Mountain near Bluefield, other areas of interest for other wind energy companies have included Morris Knob, near Tazewell, and Burkes Garden, according to Board of Supervisors Chairman David Anderson.
Garrett County residents told the Maryland Public Service Commission Wednesday that a proposed wind farm would be noisy, ineffective and potentially put them in danger.
Representatives for Synergics Wind Energy, the developers of the proposed 24-turbine wind farm in Garrett County, said the project would provide clean energy and be completely safe. The commission is expected to rule on the project in the near future.
The Mineral County Commission moved Tuesday to go on record in support of the proposed Pinnacle Wind Farm.
The support, however, is not unanimous.
After going into executive session to discuss "legal matters," which they later said related to the proposed contract in which WindForce will agree to commit itself to a "floor" for tax revenue to be generated by the project, two of the commissioners said they felt it was time for the county to commit to a position.
Homeowners who live near the site of proposed Western Maryland wind farm brought their case before utility regulators Wednesday, saying the impact on their safety has not been adequately considered.
''This commission is our last and only hope our government will protect us,'' said homeowner Victor Fickes.
Synergics Wind Energy wants to build a 50-megawatt wind energy farm atop Backbone Mountain near Oakland in Garrett County.
Delmarva Power's four power purchase agreements with wind developers should begin paying dividends by the end of the year, with the first clean-energy electrons flowing to the state later this fall.
One land-based wind farm under contract to the local utility could start sending electricity to Delaware by year's end, and another in western Maryland could get its permit soon despite concerns the turbines could harm endangered species. That project has an easier path to approval thanks to a controversial new law that exempts smaller wind farm projects from an extensive environmental vetting.
Light breezes and low elevations make Baltimore County uninviting territory for big wind farms, but the terrain could be more promising for residents hoping to trim electric bills and their "carbon footprint" with a home turbine.
The outlook could hinge on deliberations going on now, as the county revises the zoning code to cover such projects. Meanwhile, one homeowner's plan for the county's first electricity-generating wind turbine remains on hold as neighbors who say they support alternative energy have lined up against it.
Nearly 100 people attended West Virginia Public Service Commission's hearing on the Pinnacle Wind Farm, Thursday afternoon at the Mineral County Courthouse, with all but one of more than two dozen speakers backing the project for its economic impact, clean energy and even visual appeal. ...The deadline for a decision on the project is Jan. 11. If approved, WindForce officials hope to have the wind farm operational by the end of 2010.
Amendments to Frostburg's wind energy systems ordinance will reduce the maximum height of a residential wind turbine from 165 to 75 feet and limit the number of wind energy systems to one per each lot of record.
The mayor and council approved the amendments Thursday night. A public hearing on the amended ordinance is scheduled during the regular City Council meeting Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Frostburg Community Center.
State energy officials are gauging interest from developers who would build an offshore farm of electricity-generating, skyscraper-sized wind turbines off the Worcester coastline.
"The question is, how do we tap into the wind resources that we've got?" said Maryland Energy Administration Director Malcolm D. Woolf.
The state began its pursuit of offshore wind generation Tuesday, a move that could lead to building 400-foot-tall turbines off Ocean City.
The Maryland Energy Administration asked wind developers to express their interest in building industrial-size windmills a dozen or more miles off the state's 31-mile coastline. At the same time, the energy agency said it is launching a study to gauge the economic viability and environmental impact of such a project.