Library filed under General from Maryland
The Kent County News didn’t publish its first story about Apex’s wind-energy plans until March 2014—nearly two years after its representatives first began traversing the county, appearing on farmers’ doorsteps, and offering leases that by some estimates were worth about $30,000 a year in exchange for the opportunity to install 35 to 50 wind turbines, and possibly more, each about 500 feet tall. The News’ single-source story, which quoted Tyson Utt, a director of development at Apex, was written by editor Daniel Divilio, who says that it came about after Apex officials contacted the paper seeking publicity.
The battle over a proposed wind farm on Dan's Mountain continues now that Allegany County and a citizens' organization have filed petitions with the state Public Service Commission to fight an attempt by wind project developers to circumvent a local zoning decision by going directly to the PSC.
On Monday, February 29, 2016, Allegany Neighbors & Citizens for Home Owners Right Limited (ANCHOR) filed a Motion to Intervene in the Dan’s Mountain Wind Force’s petition.
Dans Mountain Windforce LLC has filed for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the Maryland Public Service Commission which, if approved, would allow the company to construct a 17-turbine wind farm on Dan's Mountain.
On Dec. 14, Mills Branch Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Charlottesville, Va.-based Apex Clean Energy, filed an application with the Maryland Public Service Commission for a 60-megawatt solar photovoltaic generating facility in the Chesterville area. The company seeks approval in time to begin construction in June and be online by the end of October, according to the filing.
The board voted unanimously Friday to deny an application from Dans Mountain Windforce LLC for variances and a special exception needed for the 17-turbine project.
Opponents of the project have previously said they are concerned about the viewshed, noise, electromagnetic interference and other issues. "This project will create an eyesore where the big business of tourism is a major economic driver," writes Champ Zumbrun of LaVale in a Letter to the Editor ... "Eight percent of the 38 million people who visit our state chose Western Maryland to enjoy its ancient mountains and diverse forested landscape."
This letter, sent to the Kent County, Maryland County Commissioners, captures the position of the Queen Anne's County Commissioners regarding APEX's Mills Branch wind energy proposal. The letter is provided below in full. It can also be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
An impressive lineup of speakers, county, town, and district representatives, along with over 150 interested community members crowded the Kennedyville Fire Station Thursday night to learn more about Apex Clean Energy’s study to build 25-35, 500-ft. wind turbines in the area.
Mike Wooton said the local zoning regulations were created by the community, reflecting what the community wants. He asked why Apex continues to push for the project in the face of community opposition, including the county commissioners and the state's General Assembly delegation.
Plans for the project seemed to be on hold when the company withdrew petitions to county planning officials for a special exception, variance and administrative modification in December. The special exceptions are required to locate a wind farm anywhere in the county, officials have said.
Watson said the project raises complicated questions, including potential effects on wildlife, health, conservation, farming, local planning and many others. She said renewable energy is important, but Kent County already has the highest per capita renewable energy production in Maryland, mostly from solar power generation.
Keep Kent Scenic and Queen Anne’s Conservation Association, two citizen-supported groups committed to farmland preservation, have created an alliance and entered into an agreement to cooperate in opposing the Apex industrial wind turbine project in Kent County.
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.
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.