Articles from Maryland
Maryland enacted into law on May 22 a commitment to add 1,200 MW of offshore wind to its 50% clean energy goal by 2030
After listening to more than half a dozen Walkersville residents, the applicant and county staff, Frederick County Council members voted to deny a request for rezoning for a proposed solar array in Walkersville.
Before taking public comment, council members questioned the applicant about the array, and expressed concern that it didn’t meet benchmarks under the county’s current solar ordinance. Some of those included that the property is composed of 100 percent prime farmland soils, and the project footprint exceeds the 10 percent threshold of tillable acreage, according to a staff report from the county’s Planning Department.
Environmentalists are in a position they never imagined: Fighting a solar panel project that would help Georgetown University dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. They say the project, which involves razing about 210 acres of trees in rural Charles County, Md., could endanger the area’s birds and lead to runoff that would put tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay at risk.
Offshore wind energy is not a new prospect to Delaware.
The town’s officials feel very strongly that this project was misrepresented to them because the size of the wind turbines has increased since the initial proposal, he said. The Maryland Public Service Commission may choose to rehear Ocean City’s case due to these material changes, he said.
These wind turbines, standing at 643 feet with red lights atop each tower in the latest proposal would be visible from the beaches of Ocean City and Assateague Island National Seashore,” he said. “The wind turbines, as currently proposed, will reduce property values, jeopardize the safety of maritime travel and pose a threat to Ocean City’s commercial fishing and tourism industries.”
Asserting “our view is not for sale,” resort officials recently rejected an olive branch of sorts from US Wind that could have provided free electric power and other concessions to Ocean City in exchange for relaxing its opposition to the distance of the offshore wind turbines.
Ocean City officials ...have asked the Public Service Commission to reconsider the project because of what they call a major increase in the proposed turbines’ height, from 200 feet to about 370 feet. A commission spokeswoman said ... its chairman has the power to reconsider a project if it has been revised significantly.
A massive offshore wind development off Maryland's Atlantic coast could put marine life in danger and should undergo further study before construction starts, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris says.
Because of the relative unknowns, U.S. Congressman Andy Harris (R-1-Md.), who represents Ocean City and the Eastern Shore, has successfully attached an amendment to the federal fiscal year 2019 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, which would order the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to study the effects of offshore wind projects on marine mammals and fish as well as the need for any mitigation measures. The amendment was authored by Harris and was passed by the committee.
OCEAN CITY — For the first time in the prolonged battle over the distance of the proposed wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City, resort officials are getting tangible support from residents and visitors characterized this week as the “sleeping giant.”
Anne Grealy, FirstEnergy’s executive director of state affairs, told the House Economic Matters and Senate Finance committees last week that the cost of buying renewable energy credits to meet the elevated standard would raise the cost of compliance for Potomac Edison by about $208 million. That cost would be paid by its ratepayers over the next 11 years, she said.
At a hearing on the bill last week, Kevin Hughes, chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission, suggested that one of the wind farm projects could come before the panel again because developer U.S. Wind has said it plans to use larger wind turbines than it initially proposed. Del. Christopher Adams, an Eastern Shore Republican who sponsored the bill that was voted down, said he thinks that possible new review “suggests that there will be further deliberation” on Maryland wind farm proposals.
The battle over the proposed distance of offshore wind energy turbines from the Ocean City shoreline moved to the General Assembly this week with a hearing before a Senate committee that would require the distance to be at least 26 nautical miles.
“The two most important factors of Ocean City property values are location and view," Michael James, an Ocean City hotel executive, told the Finance Committee. “Seven-hundred-foot turbines will undoubtedly hurt property values.” Town officials say they support offshore wind energy but not wind turbines visible from condo and hotel balconies.
The town of Ocean City's objections to two offshore wind farm proposals are getting an airing in Annapolis. A new Maryland General Assembly bill would prohibit any turbines from being erected within 26 miles of the coast, mirroring a resolution that sailed through the Town Council last month.
“Ocean City supports clean, unseen energy,” the mayor’s letter reads. “What that means is that we would like the turbines to be constructed at least 26 miles offshore, rather than the 12.9 to 17 miles as one developer is proposing. Our leadership is interested in both promoting green energy and providing job opportunities, but is also our duty as the Mayor and Council to preserve all that we have at stake, including the natural beauty of the beaches and waters in and adjacent to Ocean City.
“This is a big project that will be there for many, many years, and we only get one chance to make it right,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “Let’s not go build something we’re all going to regret.” The town's rejection is a political blow to America's first large-scale offshore wind development. But it is largely a symbolic one; the turbines are being planned in federal waters.