General and Maryland
There is nothing in this bill or in any other Maryland law or regulation that will guarantee or limit how much a ratepayer will have to pay extra for offshore wind-generated energy. If this bill is passed and if a developer succeeds in building an offshore wind farm, don't be surprised if the surcharge exceeds $1.50 in 2012 dollars.
But some, including a number of Republicans, are questioning both the $2-a-month cost figure and the forecast of jobs for Marylanders.
In fact, searching through a number of studies shows how difficult it is to come up with reliable numbers on wind energy costs.
Like most Marylanders, I want electric power that is cheap and clean. However, I oppose offshore wind — because it is not cheap, and wind systems are not clean.
The proposed Calvert Cliffs 3 nuclear reactor would be sited on about 350 acres. The 1,200 offshore wind turbines needed to produce the same amount of energy would require 74,000 acres. Onshore, 2,400 turbines would be needed and would require 8,500 acres. This is a lot of land or water and a big impact on the rich mountain ecosystems and habitats or ocean ecosystems about which we know little.
Over the last five years, environmental degradation to our beautiful natural landscape is occurring without the public's knowledge as closed-door negotiations among local and state government and energy companies take place. And, of course there is very limited federal, state, and local regulatory oversight.
Industrial wind is perhaps the silliest modern energy idea imaginable. In the final analysis, it's a faith-based proposition, requiring people to close their minds and clap their hands to revive it from a life-and-death struggle against unbelief, bringing the technology back from the oblivion that the steam engine consigned it to hundreds of years ago.
Throwing vast amounts of the public's treasure down the rathole of wind is to deny investment in infinitely more effective technologies -- such as nuclear -- that will preserve the energy requirements of modernity. It is incredibly irresponsible.
I think your readers would be interested in knowing what wasn't said about Constellation Energy's agreement to purchase the Criterion wind project of Clipper Windpower, Inc. ("Wind, solar, 'farms' slated for 2 counties, Dec. 1). ...What the industry is not telling you is that to realize that scenario the wind would have to be blowing and capable of producing 50 percent their of their maximum output thoughout the year.
The excellent letter by Dorothy K. Biggs leaves unsaid what must be said ("County shouldn't let US Wind Force write its own regulations," May 16 Times-News).
We really need to know all about the dealings which the Allegany County commissioners have had with U.S. Wind Force, LLC.
Again, US Wind Force spins their claims and half-truths in the April 14 article "US Wind Force Counters Commissioner's Concern." Mr. Friend's cites a West Virginia statewide opinion survey that 57 percent of individuals polled were pro-wind. At best, this survey is misleading, dubious and outdated. ...The uninformed opinion of pro-wind is diminishes when individuals learn that industrial wind turbines are planned on fragile mountain ridges.
Having just returned from Annapolis, where I testified on Sen. George Edwards' six wind energy bills, and preparing for the hearing on Thursday, I have a number of questions/comments about the format.
It is my understanding that citizen comments will be directed only to the Planning and Zoning Commission report, The Regulation and Management of Wind Energy Devices, A Report to the Planning and Zoning Commission of Allegany County, January 29, 2009 ("Report").
I am writing as a private citizen to respectfully request that you consider supporting a repeal of the act (SB 566) which allows land-based industrial wind turbines to be built without a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) being required.
[H]unters may lose if wind developers have their way in Allegany and Garrett counties.
In exchange for a few thousand dollars, the wind company can pre-empt landowners' rights to: allow hunting on their property, plant trees, extract sand and gravel, develop mineral rights, build additional outbuildings, etc. These landowner contracts subordinate the landowners' rights in favor of the wind developers.
Leases, typically lasting a generation, prevent a landowner from complaining or taking action against the wind company because of noise, flicker, visual, vibrations, electric and radio frequency disturbances, and other side effects caused by the operation of the project. Hunters could lose their access even if the landowner is amenable to hunting.
Attention, hunters on Green Mountain and all local citizens. Please show your concern. See Web site ResponsibleWind.org, which is a group trying to protect the Blackwater Falls Area and Allegheny Front.
In this newsletter they said that the turbines have disrupted the bear and rattlesnake habitat and the animals are seen in lower areas near homes. The turbines cause noise pollution and visual pollution of the beautiful mountains. The U.S. government has halted many projects due to bird deaths or potential interference with military radar. And the vast collections of turbines - some of which reach 40 stories tall are unreliable and unsightly.
Let's not rush into something that we as a county may really regret.
Frank Maisano's job, for which he is well-paid, is to trick communities and local officials into believing that erecting hundreds of wind turbines throughout Garrett County will somehow make life better here. It is a job repeatedly performed by him and other industry-financed promoters in rural areas throughout the country. ...My job, for which I am paid nothing and have no financial interest, is to attempt to educate people concerning the reality of this fundamentally exploitative business and the consequences of succumbing to its false promises.
First of all, the Board of County Commissioners will not "unlawfully seize property - period. ...Perhaps more important to an understanding of this issue is the reluctance that the county has had in using the power even for its own uses. It is important to note that it has been much more frequent that commissioners have directed staff to look for alternatives that would protect the property rights of the residents of Garrett County. The limited use speaks to this and represents those circumstances where there was no other option. With all of that said, and realizing that this is a power that the commissioners have, we have no expectation that it would ever be used.
Self-styled "green" leaders across the country face a conundrum over wind power: Do they alienate part of their constituency by leveling pristine forests to build wind farms, or irritate the other part by rejecting a promising source of renewable energy?
When Gov. Martin O'Malley faced that choice in April , he opted for the latter, and in no uncertain terms. ...But wind energy supporters said that while many Americans support the concept of wind farms, nobody wants them built in their backyards.
What is the county's position on the use of eminent domain as it relates to siting, permitting, or constructing anything to do with a 440-foot industrial wind turbine?"
First of all the board of county commissioners will not "unlawfully" seize property, period. Since the Supreme Court decision several years ago, the traditional limits that have existed on the use of eminent domain have been removed. As a result, local governments can use that power, if they choose, for nontraditional purposes, including economic development.
Since there are no regulations restricting the placement of turbines on private lands in Garrett County, and since the legislature in 2007 stripped away all Public Service Commission oversight, any wind developer, no matter how undercapitalized, incompetent, shady, or unscrupulous, may erect hundreds of turbines anywhere it chooses, at will.
This will become the fate of Garrett County if nothing is done locally to stop them. Fortunately, something can be done, if our public officials will only exercise the courage and good judgment their responsibilities of office dictate.
Will Garrett County use its power of eminent domain to unlawfully seize private property in the event a citizen refuses to grant an easement of any kind to permit an industrial wind turbine company right of way for a cable crossing, access road, etc.? What is the county's position on the use of eminent domain as it relates to siting, permitting, or constructing anything to do with a 440-foot industrial wind turbine?