Articles filed under General from Maryland
Defining the phrase "fix the roads" created a lengthy discussion between officials of the Pinnacle Wind Farm and several homeowners living in the area where the turbines and related materials are being transported to the construction site of the wind farm.
The commissioners voted 6-1, with Jim Bunting opposed, to give National Wind the go-ahead to install a meteorological tower at the landfill in Newark and to do an environmental analysis of the site to see if the property would be a viable place for up to a dozen wind turbines.
Somerset County Commissioners expect to be briefed today on efforts by one company to build large-scale wind energy systems on farmland. Officials with Delsea Energy are scheduled to give a presentation.
Because the company is not a pubic utility, it does not have eminent domain rights and must negotiate with landowners, Benson said. The company is also obtaining the necessary Maryland Department of the Environment permits for putting up power lines and boring for the underground line.
Although supporters of wind energy say it can help meet the nation's energy needs while reducing dependence on foreign oil and polluting fossil fuels, not even the strongest advocates claim it will come cheaply anytime soon. The projected cost of about 20 cents per kilowatt hour is well off the roughly 13-cent cost that the U.S. Department of Energy has set as a target.
While the county enacted an ordinance regulating smaller residential turbines last year, the Planning Commission just started considering commercial operations last week, said Gary Pusey, the county's planning director.
Industrial-scale wind farms have altered the rural landscape in places where the natural environment and quiet living are high priorities. Some local residents and conservationists say wind turbines are an assault on both.
Pittsburgh EverPower Wind Holdings Inc., the developer of Pennsylvania's Twin Ridges Wind Farm, is asking the city of Frostburg for an easement to build a generator lead line underneath the streets of the city. "Initial meetings with the city and with several of the neighbors who live along the proposed route have been very supportive and encouraging," said Harry Benson, senior director of development for EverPower, at Thursday's City Council meeting.
The proposed Calvert Cliffs 3 nuclear reactor would be sited on about 350 acres. The 1,200 offshore wind turbines needed to produce the same amount of energy would require 74,000 acres. Onshore, 2,400 turbines would be needed and would require 8,500 acres. This is a lot of land or water and a big impact on the rich mountain ecosystems and habitats or ocean ecosystems about which we know little.
Although the decommissioning study states that the cost to be recovered from the sale of scrap from the wind farm would exceed the cost of dismantling it and there is therefore no need for an escrow account, the agreement calls for a "floor" amount of $57,500 to be placed in escrow if it would ever be needed.
The proposed escrow agreement is back from being scrutinized by the attorneys, and representatives of U.S. Wind Force will therefore be asking the Mineral County Commissioners today to approve both the final decommissioning report by G.L. Garrad Hassan and the escrow agreement to be signed between the Pinnacle Wind Farm and the county.
KEYSER - According to the independent firm hired to conduct the decommissioning study for the Pinnacle Wind Farm, the net scrap value of the 23 wind turbines to be constructed on Green Mountain should exceed the cost of dismantling the entire wind farm, thus making the provision for an escrow bond unnecessary.
Over the last five years, environmental degradation to our beautiful natural landscape is occurring without the public's knowledge as closed-door negotiations among local and state government and energy companies take place. And, of course there is very limited federal, state, and local regulatory oversight.
As the Mineral County Commissioners await comments from their attorneys on the proposed escrow agreement with U.S. Wind Force, representatives of the Allegheny Front Alliance are asking them to consider the results of a decommissioning study before signing any final documents.
After requesting two weeks ago that the county's proposed escrow agreement with U.S. Wind Force be made public before the Mineral County Commissioners make it official, Frankfort District resident Kolin Jan was back before the county commission on Tuesday to see if the elected officials plan to honor his request.
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.
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.