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Public gets say on Dan's Mountain proposal today

CUMBERLAND - Industrial wind turbines' efficiency and reliability are getting better as technology improves, according to an Annapolis-based wind industry engineer.

Whether Ed Yealdhall, of EnergyWorks LLC, is right or not could play a role in determining whether the Maryland Public Service Commission grants a U.S. Wind Force subsidiary an exemption from obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and, ultimately, approval to construct up to 29 wind turbines on Dan's Mountain.

The public hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday inside Room 218 at Dunkle Hall at Frostburg State University. Motorists should take Exit 33 off Interstate 68 and head toward Frostburg. Turn left onto University Drive - shortly after the State University Appalachian Lab - and pass the arboretum and Bobcat Stadium. Dunkle Hall is located beside the Fine Arts building.

Yealdhall said his company does not have a stake in the Dan's Mountain project, which is being forwarded by Dan's Mountain Wind Force LLC. But he's aware that industry experts are getting "very savvy" in harnessing the energy the wind turbines create.

Yealdhall said reports of fires and propellers thrown from rotors, and other safety... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CUMBERLAND - Industrial wind turbines' efficiency and reliability are getting better as technology improves, according to an Annapolis-based wind industry engineer.

Whether Ed Yealdhall, of EnergyWorks LLC, is right or not could play a role in determining whether the Maryland Public Service Commission grants a U.S. Wind Force subsidiary an exemption from obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and, ultimately, approval to construct up to 29 wind turbines on Dan's Mountain.

The public hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday inside Room 218 at Dunkle Hall at Frostburg State University. Motorists should take Exit 33 off Interstate 68 and head toward Frostburg. Turn left onto University Drive - shortly after the State University Appalachian Lab - and pass the arboretum and Bobcat Stadium. Dunkle Hall is located beside the Fine Arts building.

Yealdhall said his company does not have a stake in the Dan's Mountain project, which is being forwarded by Dan's Mountain Wind Force LLC. But he's aware that industry experts are getting "very savvy" in harnessing the energy the wind turbines create.

Yealdhall said reports of fires and propellers thrown from rotors, and other safety issues, are "isolated."

Frostburg area resident Jim Batina isn't so sure. His Dan's Rock Road property is adjacent to the planned project area. His primary concern is noise levels. Reports from a Meyersdale, Pa., wind turbine project indicate a higher decibel reading than he would want near his home. And after reading studies conducted by Dan's Mountain Wind Force - Batina read through much of the data available at the Frostburg Public Library - he still does not believe "that the analysis was adequate to guarantee that the noise will not be an issue to the surrounding residents."

The exemption being sought by Dan's Mountain Wind Force was made possible by 2007 legislation passed overwhelmingly by the Maryland General Assembly. Frank Maisano, a spokesman and advocate for the wind energy industry, said the law is the result of Maryland's commitment to renewable energy.

"Let's be clear," Maisano said, "there is a sense in this country that wind power is going to be an essential part" of efforts to find sustainable resources of clean energy.

The public hearing itself, Maisano said, is proof that naysayers against that legislation were wrong when they said the expedited process would remove public input from the process. There were two public hearings conducted for a Garrett County industrial wind turbine farm.

"The opponents showed up and spoke in opposition in general," Maisano said. "Again, this is another public that will have a public hearing. People can talk and give their opinions on wind power."

Nearby communities such as Meyersdale and Tucker County, W.Va., are "reaping the benefits of not only cleaner energy but tax payments. Those communities have embraced this wind power."

Contrary to popular belief, Maisano said property values in those locations have not fallen and "many fears (and) claims about (harm to) birds, bats ... continue to be shot down by facts (and) by a market that's driving for more renewable energy."

The Public Service Commission is to determine whether an exemption should be granted. Maisano, however, figured the conversation will range from that primary topic.

"These public hearings are always about what people want to say," he said. "I don't think anybody should have any limitations" other than time restraints imposed by commission members.

Maisano said the conversation today would simply be a continuation of discussion U.S. Wind Force workers already have started with local residents.

"We've been open with the community. We've talked about these projects," Maisano said. "We know state (officials) and policymakers have encouraged development of renewable power. We know they would like it expedited. U.S. Wind Force is going through all the hopes and jumps that we have to make sure this project is environmentally (and) economically sound and will provide the community with a type of opportunity that will be positive."

But, "because of tastes, not everyone is going to agree a wind project will be good for their community."

Kevin Spradlin can be reached at kspradlin@times-news.com.


Source: http://www.times-news.com/l...

JAN 22 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18707-public-gets-say-on-dan-s-mountain-proposal-today
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