Zoning/Planning and Maryland
The Western Maryland Delegation has retracted its support for a wind turbine project being proposed for state land in Garrett County. U.S. Wind Force recently asked Gov. Martin O'Malley for leases in Potomac and Savage River state forests to clear an estimated 400 acres in order to construct up to 100 40-story-tall wind turbines.
The delegation - made up of 15 lawmakers from Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll counties - wrote a letter to O'Malley on Oct. 1, 2007, indicating its support for the project.
Del. Robert A. McKee, Dist. 2A, however, wrote another letter to O'Malley on Monday, Jan. 28.
The state Court of Appeals cleared a California energy company yesterday to build what would be Maryland's first windmill farm, a 42-turbine facility along Backbone Mountain in Garrett County.
The wind farm was approved by the Public Service Commission in 2003, though it was not built because the developer, Clipper Windpower Inc., initially was unable to induce utility companies to buy power from the facility.
The project now has utility customers and is expected to proceed.
A wind farm developer is shrinking a proposal to build turbines in Western Maryland, making the project small enough to be exempt from a major environmental review.
Clipper Windpower Inc. officials say they now want to build 28 turbines instead of 67 along Backbone Mountain in Garrett County. That could make it the first project to be exempt from broad state review under a 2007 law meant to speed up construction of wind farm projects.
Clipper is one of three companies competing to be the first to build wind turbines in Western Maryland.
Business and political leaders in Western Maryland's Garrett County are lining up against a proposal to allow the clearing of up to 400 mountaintop acres of state forest for the construction of 40-story wind turbines.
With a pair of public hearings scheduled this week, Garrett's Chamber of Commerce, Board of Realtors, Democratic Central Committee and Republican state delegate and senator have come out against the proposal to use two state forests in the county for wind farms. So has the mayor of the town of Oakland.
'I've taken time to talk to a lot of people, and a vast majority are against this,' said state Sen. George C. Edwards, a Republican who heads the delegation from Garrett and Allegany counties. ...But David F. McAnally, chairman of Pennsylvania-based U.S. Wind Force, said he believes people will support his company's proposal to build a total of 100 turbines on two state forest tracts once they hear all the facts.
An Allegany County resident's allegations that one or more of the Planning and Zoning Commission members could have a conflict of interest by discussing and voting on wind turbine-related issues gained the attention of the all-volunteer board.
It didn't, however, help facilitate further discussion. The commission Wednesday voted 4-0 to table further discussion until at least the next meeting, scheduled for 3 p.m. on Oct. 6. Members Rodger Uphold, Charles Norris and George Stimmel were not present at the meeting.
A proposed 40-turbine wind power project in Garrett County would shrink to 28 turbines — small enough to avoid some of the public scrutiny that has hampered its progress — under a change sought by developer Clipper Windpower PLC.
The project’s maximum output would drop from 101 megawatts of electricity to 70 megawatts, Clipper said in a filing with the state Public Service Commission. At that size, under a state law passed last year, the project wouldn’t need a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity — a power plant construction permit the PSC awards after lengthy rounds of reviews and public hearings.
The wind power law allows developers to build wind farms without a certificate of public convenience from the Maryland Public Service Commission. While critics argued it will cut out public input on wind projects, the law's supporters said the law only removes extra environmental reviews that were stifling wind power development in Maryland. Frank Maisano, a spokesman for a coalition of Mid-Atlantic wind-power developers, said the law was needed to help the state meet goals for Maryland-produced renewable power.
But critics say that under the new law, strides toward renewable power could come at the expense of wildlife.
A pilot wind power program for Baltimore County was withdrawn Monday before a County Council vote after community groups complained the measure failed to protect residential areas from nearby turbines. ..."There was a lot of opposition that came in. People weren't paying attention" to the emergence of the bill during a work session last month, he said.
Maryland's highest court on Friday cleared the way for a wind-power project in Garrett County that was challenged by a neighbor.
The court unanimously ruled that the challenge by Eric Tribbey to the 67-turbine project was not valid.
Two years after Maryland legislators passed a law designed to breeze wind power projects through regulatory reviews, the state still has no active wind farms and the opponents of the 2007 bill are still fighting the change. ...Former state senator and former Frostburg mayor John Bambacus told a panel of legislators that the new law "totally gutted the regulatory process." Bambacus says public input is exceptionally important because wind turbines "are not benign structures," noting some are as "tall as the Washington monument."
Synergics Wind Energy is appealing the Oct. 30 decision made by hearing examiner David L. Moore, Maryland Public Service Commission. The examiner had approved the company’s application to build wind turbines in Garrett County, but with several environmental restrictions.
At the October hearing, Moore okayed 24 conditions recommended by the Department of Natural Resources, including one that would prevent construction of the wind turbines in two areas in order to help preserve habitat for rare species.
Exasperated by rising energy costs, this summer Money Lewis decided it was time to take advantage of the strong breeze that blows across his Selsey Road property.
In July, he signed a $15,000 contract with a Delaware company to set up a 33-foot wind turbine on his .7-acre waterfront property. ...However, he's heard he will have to wait until the county creates an ordinance to dictate the placement of the turbine.
A month has passed since the end of the comment period on development of a policy for wind turbines on state land, and according to Maryland Department of Natural Resources, no decision has yet been made.
A spokeswoman for DNR said the agency hopes to have an event mid-April once a decision has been made on the department's stance on turbines located on state land.
Ocean City put a law on their books allowing residential wind turbines specifically because Jim Motsko came to them asking for one. Now, an unforeseen snag has thrown up a new hurdle in his two-year quest.
Poolesville's Planning Commission has delayed a decision on permitting an energy-generating wind turbine while it develops a policy on alternative energy sources.
If approved, the turbine, which John Speelman proposes building at his Poolesville Hardware store at 19961 Fisher Ave., would be the first wind generator in town.
[A] state delegate and energy company are teaming up in an attempt to bring the future of energy generation to the former Naval Radio Transmitter Facility.
Del. Ron George, R-Arnold, and Alpha Energy, which is based in Annapolis, are preparing a $30- to $40-million proposal for six to 10 wind turbines near the existing radio towers.
Mr. George and David Murrin and Marcellous Butler of Alpha Energy held a meeting on Monday with government, energy and business officials to start a dialogue with the community.
Carroll studied the turbines and last week became the first in the state to enact an ordinance authorizing small turbines, limiting landowners to two 150-foot-tall systems per property. Officials hope many more people in Carroll and throughout the state take the opportunity to cut down on ever increasing electricity bills. ...Carroll Chief of Staff Steven Powell cautioned residents from hastily buying a turbine without checking to see if their property is well-matched. "Before someone makes a major investment, it's an e-mail or a call to make sure it's even practical."
US WindForce will host a public meeting Monday evening at the Wind Lea Banquet and Conference Center as part of the company's ongoing efforts to keep the public abreast of its Pinnacle Wind Farm project near Keyser, with environmental issues again the focus of discussion.
Disputing what's been called a "dialogue," several guests at Monday's US WindForce community meeting felt questions have gone unanswered just as the company recently announced its intention to file an application with the Public Service Commission for 23 wind turbines comprising the Pinnacle Wind Farm.