Library from Maryland
A Virginia energy company pursuing a large wind turbine project across 5,000 acres of farmland in Kent County, Md., is slowing its construction timeline after local residents and officials protested the project recently on the Eastern Shore and at the State House in Annapolis, a company official said last week.
Kent County commissioners voted to oppose the wind farm and support a state Senate Bill that would restore local authority to the approval process. However, the Bill failed to make it out of committee before the legislative term ended 13 April.
What killed the Maryland project? Well, ostensibly: the Department of Defense. It turns out that the military gets antsy when you put up giant (575-foot) towers around an air base.
State Sen. Stephen S. Hershey Jr. received the support of the Galena town council for a bill he submitted in the General Assembly relating to a wind farm proposal in Kent County. The town council unanimously agreed to submit a letter of support for Hershey’s bill to fellow backers, the Kent County Commissioners.
Hershey, a Queen Anne's County Republican, said he was moved to put the bill in after learning that the turbines would be nearly 500 feet tall and spread across an area of thousands of acres. He called that a "massive" footprint "in a relatively rural and bucolic area." William W. Pickrum, president of the county commissioners, wrote the Senate committee that the project "will most certainly have a negative effect" on farming, boating and tourism in the county and hurt property values.
The Senate Bill 938 would prohibit the Public Service Commission from taking final action on an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction of a wind farm in the Kennedyville area without the prior approval of the Kent County Commissioners.
Falstad said that “the proposed field of turbines, with their 164-foot blades atop 333-foot pylons, will put multiple skyscraper-tall structures into the undeveloped lands of the Eastern Shore, thereby despoiling a historic landscape, creating a wall of destruction for migrating birds, and impinging on the skyscapes of Queen Anne’s and other neighboring counties. We cannot let this happen,”
Senate Bill 938 would “prohibit the Public Service Commission from taking final action on an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction” of a wind farm in the Kennedyville area without the prior approval of the Kent County Commissioners.
As wind energy companies try to find their footing in Maryland, state senators proposed a bill that would limit turbines’ heights, as well as their companies’ interests, in southern Maryland. Applying the state’s current agricultural regulations to the base would keep wind turbines at least 24 miles away from the Naval Air Station, and they could not exceed 100 feet in height if within 24 to 30 miles of the base.
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.