VI. Findings and Conclusions
To determine whether the grant of the CPCN is in the public convenience and necessity, I weigh the potential benefits of the construction and operation of the Wind Project against the adverse impacts to the State, the County, and the local residents.
I find that he benefits of the Wind Project are:
* A temporary, short-term economic benefits to the County and State accruing from the construction and operation of the Project and a very slight net economic benefit to the County and the State during the useful life of the Project.
* The Project potential contribution toward the State's attainment of its renewable energy portfolio standard by 2022.
Subject to the applicable recommended licensing conditions, I find that the Wind Project will have no adverse permanent impact on aviation safety, potable water supplies, electromagnetic interference, transportation, historic and cultural resources, disposal of waste, and the stability and reliability of the electric system. The licensing condition requiring a decommissioning plan and associated bond will protect the County residents from any costs associated with removing the wind turbines on the event the Applicant or applicable land owners fail to do so at the end of the Wind Project’s useful life or abandonment of the Project. Thus, these factors do not weigh against the grant of the CPCN, but none may be considered a benefit of the Wind Project.
I find that the Wind Project will have an adverse impact on the esthetics of the local communities on and around Dan's Mountain. Further, I find that the adverse impact caused to the comfort of nearby residents by the noise produced and the shadow flicker perceived will not be fully mitigated by incorporating licensing conditions into a CPCN.
Overall, in weighing the benefits against the adverse impacts that are unable to be mitigated by incorporating licensing conditions into the CPCN grant, I find that benefits that may accrue to the public at large by construction of the Wind Project do not justify or offset subjecting the local community to the adverse impacts that will result from the Wind Project’s construction and operation. Consequently, after giving due consideration to each of the factors required by PUA § 7-207(e) and the other issues raised by the Parties, I find that grant of the CPCN for the Wind Project is not in the public convenience and necessity.
Accordingly, I hereby deny the Application and the Applicant’s request for a CPCN. Further, my denial of the Application moots the Applicant's request for waiver of the two-year filing requirement in PUC § 7-208, and it is therefore dismissed.
IT IS, THEREFORE, this 25th day of January, in the year Two Thousand Seventeen,
(1) That the application of Dan's Mountain Wind Force, LLC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct a 59.5 MW wind generating station on Dan's Mountain is hereby denied.
(2) Any outstanding requests or motions not granted herein are hereby denied.
(3) That this Proposed Order will become a final order of the Commission on February 25, 2017, unless before that date an appeal is noted with the Commission y any party to this proceeding as provided in Section 3-113(d)(2) of the Public Utilities Article, or the Commission modifies or reverses the Proposed Order or initiates further proceedings in this matter as provided in Section 30114(c)(2) of the Public Utilities Article
Terry J. Romine
Chief Public Utility Law Judge
Public Service Commission of Maryland