Library from Maryland
St. Mary’s County officials applauded this week the “indefinite suspension” of a wind turbine project planned across the Chesapeake Bay from Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The Great Bay wind energy project with wind turbines nearing 600 feet tall was deemed a threat to national security last fall by the Department of Defense because of possible interference to a specialized radar system at Pax River.
"I've been doing my due diligence, trying to figure out the pros and cons," Short said. "The more I found out, the more Apex said my colleagues and I don't have much say in this matter. And anybody in this room knows me, I don't like that, and neither does Commissioner Pickrum. We like to have the authority over the citizens to do what you guys want us to do."
The Texas-based company on Friday sent a letter to the Somerset County Commissioners notifying them of the "indefinite suspension" of its Great Bay Wind project, which had been under development for nearly five years. Pioneer Green Engineer had planned to bring 25 wind turbines - each 599 feet high - to Westover. Adam Cohen, Pioneer Green's vice president, said in the letter that while the company has persevered through many obstacles, some have proven more difficult.
The Great Bay wind energy project with wind turbines nearing 600 feet high was deemed a threat to national security last fall by the Department of Defense because of possible interference to a specialized radar system at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St. Mary’s County.
Pioneer Green Energy has been promoting a 25-turbine wind energy facility (599-feet tall each) to be sited in Somerset County, Maryland, across the Chesapeake Bay from the Pax River naval base in an area surrounded by dozens of active bald eagle nests. Significant objections to the project were raised by the Navy and local residents. The Maryland State Senate and Assembly voted overwhelmingly to delay the project until more information could be determined about the impacts on military radar. Objections were also raised by members of Maryland's Congressional delegation. On March 20, 2015, Pioneer Green notified the Somerset County Commissioners that the project was being placed on indefinite suspension. The letter is provided below and can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The bill would require the Maryland Public Service Commission to evaluate the impact of a proposed wind project that “directly or indirectly encroaches on existing, private, state, federal or military infrastructure, resources, facilities, ranges, or operating environments,” and prohibits the commission from approving such a project “unless the proposed offshore wind project will not impact restricted areas and a specified warning area in a specified manner.”
Tom Dennison, a spokesman for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, said companies are making big investments just to reach the current goal of 20 percent by 2022, and additional mandates will cost ratepayers more. Dennison noted that southern Maryland now gets about 10 percent of its electricity from renewables.
Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC has temporarily withdrawn part of its application for the proposed 19-turbine wind project that had been filed with the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals. In a letter dated Dec. 9, Dan’s Mountain requested that the petitions for special exception, variance and administrative modification be withdrawn.
The Deputy Secretary of Defense has filed an official objection to the Great Bay Wind Energy Center project proposed by Pioneer Green Energy to be located in Somerset County, Maryland, and in the vicinity of Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Patuxent River) and the Atlantic Test Range (ATR). This notification follows a detailed study of methods to mitigate for impacts of spinning turbines on the naval base mission. The objections raised and conclusion of the DOD report are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Pioneer Green does not design or construct wind turbines. It will sell the development rights and will be long gone before any are built, leaving the resulting health, safety and environmental problems in the hands of leaseholders, county residents and attorneys. Somerset County will be poorer for the project, not richer.
Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC recently asked the Maryland Public Service Commission for a third construction delay for 19 wind turbines atop that prominent Allegany County ridgeline. Dan’s Mountain has also asked that a motion for the construction delay be put on the agenda for the earliest possible administrative meeting of the PSC.
The learning curve about industrial wind turbine noise has evolved over the past decade. The need to understand it emerged from the discovery of a new human illness. In 2006 doctors in Europe, the United States and Australia began reporting a group of symptoms occurring in a cluster of patients in their communities. In each case, people complained of sleeplessness, unsteadiness, headache and nausea. All had one factor in common: proximity to industrial wind turbines.
Wind turbines do reduce property values significantly, as shown by independent studies conducted by the London School of Economics, Clarkson University, Aachen University in Germany and McCann studies in the Midwest, along with common sense. Setbacks are 1,000 feet for a nearly 600 foot turbine and there will be residents with constant flicker in their homes, depending on location of the sun.
The Defense Department has held that towering turbines in Somerset, across the Chesapeake Bay from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station would interfere with military radar-testing. ...The same day, Fleury, the chairwoman of the Somerset County Planning and Zoning Commission, quit abruptly, citing dismay over the panel majority’s passage of provisions she warned posed potential “health hazards connected with turbines, especially those greater than 400 feet.”
Somerset County Commissioners have not reached a decision on whether to approve a contentious wind energy project proposal. Commissioners convened for an open session to discuss a letter, from the Department of Defense, that objected to the Great Bay Wind project.
The company behind a proposed wind energy project remains committed to moving forward, despite recent objections rendered in a letter from the Department of Defense. ...Project Manager Paul Harris said the letter is an opinion submitted to the FAA, which has not made a final decision on the project.
“Del. John Bohanan and I were confident that once the project was fully reviewed by the Department of Defense, after consultation with various service branches that utilize Pax River, that this would be the outcome,” Hoyer said. “It was the right decision, and I applaud the Department of Defense leadership for recognizing the threat this project poses to a critical national security asset.”
The letter, signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, does not elaborate. But Hoyer said Pentagon officials had concluded the turbines pose "a significant threat" to the "world-class stealth radar system" used at the base.
This letter, signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, concludes that the turbines proposed for Somerset County in Maryland would "significantly impair or degrade the capability of the Department of Defense to conduct research, development, testing and evaluation, and operations, or to maintain military readiness." Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), praised the action by the Defense department and stated that the turbines posed "a significant threat to the mission and world-class stealth radar system at Patuxent River Naval Air Station."
The U.S. Navy officially objects to the proposed Great Bay Energy wind facility due to unacceptable impacts to military radar at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The text of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be downloaded from the links on this page.