Articles from Maryland
Save Western Maryland filed a federal lawsuit against Constellation Energy Group and their affiliate for violation of the Endangered Species Act, due to Constellation's intrusive installation and operation of an industrial wind power facility on the ridgetop of Backbone Mountain which will result in the killing, injury and other forms of harm to the endangered Indiana Bat.
Trying fiscal conditions have environmental advocates approaching the 2011 legislative session with scaled-back expectations they say are essential to meeting federal Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements and securing Maryland's energy future.
While Maryland's energy future might lie in harnessing the breezes off Ocean City, the frontier for now is in the same place it's always been - in the mountains of Western Maryland - where the region's winds and coal and natural gas reserves are drawing prospectors. That's unsettling to some environmentalists and Western Marylanders.
It is remarkable Maryland has proceeded so far without a benefit / cost assessment. Even though the whole point is to reduce electric power system emissions, there has been no evaluation of the impact of the wind farm on electric power system CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions. There has been no evaluation of system-wide cost; how much will Maryland offshore wind increase electric bills?
KEYSER - Immediately following the second public hearing session dealing with the county's 10-Year Comprehensive Plan, and during the regular meeting of the Mineral County Planning Commission on Tuesday evening, members voted to accept the current draft of the document with two exceptions.
Shaffer said the escrow agreement would assure that the wind farm "is paid for from the first shovel of dirt to start construction of the wind farm to the decommissioning of the last standing turbine. "This is the document that will protect individual land owners, and guarantee that turbines on leased or purchased land are the responsibility of the group in possessoin of the turbines when their useful life is over.
Two Garrett County wind power projects, the first such in Maryland, are expected to begin commercial operation in a matter of weeks, even as opponents consider taking legal action against the facilties. A 20-turbine wind farm atop Backbone Mountain at Roth Rock is set to become operational by the end of December.
Despite the reorganization of the federal offshore leasing bureaucracy, it's possible the red tape holding wind projects back might get streamlined, since the Obama and O'Malley administrations both are strongly behind renewable energy. But economic and political obstacles loom as well. As The New York Times reported this week, the Great Recession and cheap natural gas prices have made regulators in some states leery of letting utilities buy power from "green" energy sources.
After listening to proponents and opponents of wind power for approximately two hours, the Mineral County Commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to approve U.S. Wind Force's recommendation to hire G.L. Garrad Hassan to perform a required decommissioning study on the Pinnacle Wind Farm.
The Obama administration opened Maryland's coast to offshore wind farms Monday and is seeking bidders to erect more than 300 turbines in a 206-square-mile area off the coast of Ocean City. The move makes Maryland the second state in the nation, after Delaware, to have reached this stage in off-shore wind development.
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.
The study, required by the West Virginia Public Service Commission as part of its permitting process, is designed to determine the cost of decommissioning, or dismantling, a wind farm after it has exceeded its useful life. That money is then set aside as a means of ensuring that the useless turbines are not abandoned with no means of funding their removal.
CIER Researchers said the offshore wind farm would be unlikely to cause problems at other mid-Atlantic radar stations, but would pose an issue for US military operations on air or sea by Maryland's coastline. However, they concluded that with sufficient information regarding these activities, "it may be possible to abate conflict".
Mineral County Commissioners once again heard from both sides of the wind farm issue as they gathered information this week in regard to the independent consultant required to conduct a study of what it would take to decommission - or dismantle - the turbines at Pinnacle Wind Farm once they have outlived their usefulness.
The bill allows the small devices to be erected on poles up to 100 feet high and remain in place for up to one year. The instruments, which typically consist of three small cups spinning on an axle, can be used to determine wind speed in areas being considered for wind turbine construction.
Issuing temporary permits for wind speed indicators, known as anemometers, would help determine whether turbines are feasible, said Councilman T. Bryan McIntire, whose rural, northern county district has been the source of much of the opposition. ..."I couldn't see authorizing windmills without even knowing if we had enough wind," McIntire said.
Inspection confirmed that the site was in compliance, according to MDE spokesman Jay Apperson. But Apperson declined to comment on the possibility of fines or other punitive measures against Synergics, saying the situation is "still an active case."
"The state has to meet a certain percentage of its power goals by 2022," she said. "If (the state) took all of its land space sources that currently existed, it wouldn't meet that goal, so offshore wind was identified as a potential source of alternative energy."
Speakers for and against a multimillion-dollar power transmission line sparred Wednesday before the Frederick Rotary Club.
Major construction on a Garrett County wind farm remains at a standstill more than one week after state environmental officials ordered a halt over violations related to water runoff and soil erosion controls.