Zoning/Planning and Maryland
"The announcement the other day wasn't an announcement against wind energy or alternative energy. It was an announcement to preserve the public lands that we hold in trust for future generations," said Rick Abbruzzese, an O'Malley spokesman.
"The governor is interested in doing all that we can to find alternative energy sources here in Maryland," he said. "But it didn't make sense to do at this particular state park."
O'Malley's decision has "absolutely no impact" on the renewable portfolio standards or RPS bill ..."
The Maryland Public Service Commission approved earlier today to grant Dan's Mountain WindForce a fast track through the regulatory review process.
The commission added a handful of conditions but wind energy spokesman Frank Maisano said in an e-mail that Dan's Mountain WindForce must work with a local telecommunications provider to ensure there is no microwave interference on Dan's Rock. In addition, the wind company must work with the state Department of Natural Resources.
Maryland regulators have, for the first time, granted fast-track status to a wind-power project in the state's mountainous western panhandle.
The 5-0 vote Wednesday by the Public Service Commission exempts California-based Clipper Windpower Inc. and its Criterion Power Partners subsidiary from having to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for its 40-turbine project in Garrett County, as power plant developers must do.
The Maryland Public Service Commission will make the official decision on the Criterion Power Partners, LLC wind project on Backbone Mountain next week, but already PSC staff is recommending the company's request.
"Staff recommends that the Commission grant Criterion's application," the recommendation reads. "... and advise Criterion that an exemption from the (Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity) requirement does not limit the authority of any state or local authority ..."
The document, available through the PSC Web site, states that Criterion, a subsidiary of Clipper Windpower Inc. of Carpinteria, Calif., will have to go through the necessary permitting processes, and that it should also include the approval of a stormwater/sediment erosion permit by Garrett County agencies, as the county had requested be done prior to the acceptance of the application.
State utility regulators extended the public comment period on a proposed Garrett County wind power project that could bypass a lengthy regulatory approval process, an official said Wednesday.
The Public Service Commission tacked on 30 days for comments following last Thursday's public hearing in McHenry, said LaWanda Edwards, PSC spokeswoman.
"We felt that customers asked for it, and you know from our perspective we like to get as much input from the community as possible," she said.
Last month, the Garrett County Commissioners requested that the PSC include a 30-day comment period as concerned citizens voiced their desire for a larger window of time.
The developers of an industrial wind farm near Frostburg must start construction within three years and must have at least one working turbine within five years.
Those details, and other relatively minor conditions, were released today as the Maryland Public Service Commission issued its formal report on the Dan's Mountain Wind Force project. The commission considered whether to grant the company an exemption from the full regulatory review process during its meeting Wednesday in Baltimore.
The Maryland Public Service Commission is requiring more information from Criterion Power Partners, LLC for the proposed Backbone Mountain wind turbine project.
According to a letter sent by Terry Romine, executive secretary of the PSC, to Kevin Rackstraw, developmental leader at Clipper Windpower, the commission has several questions about the interconnection agreement that would allow the wind turbine project to connect with the grid and Allegheny Power.
"With this particular project," Todd Meyers, spokesman for Allegheny Power, said, "the company's studies were done three years ago.
Bowie-based conservation biologist D. Daniel Boone, another Synergics intervenor, said Rogers’ call for less regulation indicates that amid growing opposition, the wind industry “wants to short-circuit any meaningful public participation and review process.”
Opposition to wind farms has increased, even in wind-friendly Pennsylvania, which Rogers cited as a model. Kerry L. Campbell, wind-energy specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, told the Maryland Wind Working Group workshop in Bethesda that people reared in his state’s mountainous coal country tend to welcome wind farms as a cleaner, less destructive energy source. But he said city folks who have moved to the countryside “don’t want to see turbines.”