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Garrett to consider wind project easements

15 Fair Wind turbines expected to be spinning next year

Elaine BlaisdellCumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Garrett County commissioners are set to vote Tuesday on a memorandum of easement with Fair Wind Power Partners, LLC for the Fair Wind project on Backbone Mountain. The commissioners, acting as Garrett County Sanitary District Inc., will also vote to grant a collection line easement and easement agreement.

During an administrative meeting in December, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved Fair Wind Power Partners’ application to construct up to 15 wind turbines on Backbone Mountain — but with conditions.

Also in December, the Federal Aviation Administration determined that the wind turbines that are part of the Fair Wind project are no hazard to air navigation, but turbines must be marked and lighted with white paint and synchronized red lights.

The project, which would generate 30 megawatts of electricity, is slated to be operational next year.

Other agenda items include a presentation by the board of education on the fiscal 2015 budget, a public hearing on the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Block Grant applicants, a review of Appalachian Regional Commission preliminary project descriptions and a departmental update from the Garrett County Health Department.

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Fourmile Ridge wind project approved, moves forward

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— FROSTBURG — The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the Fourmile Ridge wind project in eastern Garrett County and site preparation started April 7, according to Frank Maisano, a wind industry spokesman. The current notice listed on the FAA website for the project is for a small change in turbine location.

The project was hinging on the decommissioning of the Grantsville VOR/DME system, which drew opposition from Ed Kelley, manager of the Garrett County Airport, and the Maryland Aviation Administration. The Grants-ville VOR/DME system will be decommissioned, according to Maisano.

VOR/DME refers to a combined radio navigation station for aircraft consisting of two beacons placed together.

“The decommission of the Grantsville VOR would leave Garrett County and Cumberland airports without a ground-based approach and would eliminate numerous instrument procedures, including six instrumental approach procedures, nine standard arrival routes, four victor airways and one remote communication outlet,” Kelly previously said in a letter to Melinda George of the FAA. “The loss of procedures and services could severely impact the safety of general, commercial, emergency and military aviation within the now served VOR/DME.”

The Fourmile Ridge project started out as a Synergics project with 24 wind turbines and was revised to an Exelon project with 16 wind turbines in the Frostburg Road area.

The Maryland Public Service Commission approved the Fourmile wind project last year.

Construction on the project is slated for completion by early November with testing and plans to begin commercial operations by mid-December 2014, according to Maisano.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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Exelon to begin work soon for Fourmile Ridge

Sixteen wind turbines to be constructed

Elaine Blaisdell

Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Exelon will begin moving dirt soon for the Fourmile Ridge project, Mike Koch, executive director of Garrett County’s Department of Community Planning and Development, told the county commissioners during their public meeting Tuesday.

Jim Torrington, assistant director of the Garrett County Permits and Inspection Services Office, met with Exelon and a meeting has occurred with constituents regarding erosion, sediment control and stormwater management.

The Garrett County Engineering Department has been looking at drainage, driveway impacts and a roadway use agreement with Exelon for restoring the road once the Fourmile Ridge project is complete, according to Dwight Emory, P.E., director of the engineering department.

The Fourmile Ridge project started out as a Synergics project with 24 wind turbines and was revised to an Exelon project with 16 wind turbines on Frostburg Road, according to Torrington.

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Hearing set on Garrett County, Md., wind farm proposal by Exelon Corp.’s Fair Wind subsidiary

By Associated Press, Published: November 14

MCHENRY, Md. — The Maryland Public Service Commission is hearing public comments on Exelon Corp.’s plan to place 12 to 15 wind turbines on Backbone Mountain in Garrett County about six miles south of Oakland.

The public hearing Thursday night is at Garrett College in McHenry. The Chicago-based company is pursuing the project through its Fair Wind Power Partners subsidiary.

The 30-megawatt wind farm was originally part of a project proposed by Clipper Windpower Inc. Exelon bought the Fair Wind project from Clipper in February.

Exelon says construction could begin in early 2014, with commercial operation commencing by the end of next year.

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Fair Wind project looks to build 15 new turbines

Elaine BlaisdellCumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The Maryland Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing in November on an application for the Fair Wind project to construct up to 15 wind turbines on Backbone Mountain six miles south of Oakland.

Fair Wind Power Partners LLC filed the application Aug. 19 and is exempted from the requirement to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, according to PSC documents.

The project will consist of up to 30 megawatts of wind turbine generation and plans to use 2.0 to 2.5 MW wind turbines, which would require 12 to 15 wind turbines to achieve the output.

A meteorological tower permit was issued to Exelon Wind LLC in July, according to Jim Torrington, chief of the Garrett County Permits and Inspections Division. A temporary met tower was built in August, according to PSC documents. Torrington noted that last year, Fair Wind submitted a concept plan for review but hasn’t come back for a grading permit yet, which it will probably obtain after the hearing. A concept plan is the first of three required plan approvals that includes the necessary information to allow for an initial evaluation of a proposed project, according to the county’s stormwater ordinance. All plans for the project are expected this winter, according to Torrington.

Before wind turbines can be fully operational, the permits division has to issue a variety of additional permits, such as a grading permit, which can take up to a year, a building permit and certificate of use for each wind turbine.

The project is slated to start significant construction activities in early 2014 and the company hopes to begin commercial operation by the end of the year, according to PSC documents. Fair Wind must start construction within one year of PSC approval and must have at least one functioning wind turbine within two years.

Fair Wind is exempt from the state legislation that requires wind turbines in the county to comply with certain setbacks and decommissioning, because the project was already in the PJM queue, according to Torrington.

After consultation with the county and the Power Plant Research Program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Fair Wind has agreed to adhere to commitments regarding project construction and requirements that go beyond what the state code requires. Each wind park easement negotiated with a landowner will contain a provision for removal of the wind turbine and all concrete foundations to minimum depth of three feet upon termination of the easement, according to PSC documents.

Each easement also requires that Fair Wind post a removal bond during the first 10 years of commercial operation. The project will also be constructed and operated in compliance with all applicable state and local noise regulations.

Based on consultation with the PPRP and DNR, the project layout will remain 50 feet from state listed and uncommon plants, 50 feet from archaeological features, 25 feet from wetland areas and 50 feet from potential rock vole habitat, according to PSC documents.

Exelon Wind, a wholly owned subsidiary of Exelon, purchased Fair Wind and the development rights to the facility from Clipper Windpower Development Co., LLC in February. The Fair Wind project was originally proposed by Clipper to be part of the 101 MW Allegheny Heights wind project.

The public hearing on the application will be held Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Garrett College auditorium.

Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 21. Written comments referencing Case No. 9334 must be sent to David J. Collins, executive secretary to the PSC, William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21202-6806.

The county is also getting closer to approving permits for the Synergics Fourmile Ridge project in the eastern part of the county. Synergics has submitted its grading plan for the third time but no building permits have been issued yet, according to Torrington.

The project has gone beyond the 60-day appeal process for the Federal Aviation Administration’s interim decision in February that all 24 proposed wind turbines are presumed to be a hazard to air navigation. Synergics has not resubmitted the project to the FAA, according to Torrington.

The PSC approved the project in April and granted a CPCN waiver with conditions that include construction within a year of its approval and at least one functioning wind turbine within two years.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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Wind farms killed 67 eagles in 5 years

The investigation into these eagle deaths excluded the deadliest place in the country for eagles, which kills more than 60 per year.

WASHINGTON — Wind energy facilities have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, but the figure could be much higher, according to a new scientific study by government biologists.

The research represents one of the first tallies of eagle deaths attributed to the nation’s growing wind energy industry, which has been a pillar of President Barack Obama’s plans to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming. Wind power releases no air pollution.

But at a minimum, the scientists wrote, wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, as the industry was greatly expanding. Most deaths — 79 — were golden eagles that struck wind turbines. One of the eagles counted in the study was electrocuted by a power line.

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Lawmakers poised to give officials wind farm regulatory power

House advances Garrett legislation

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

2012 — OAKLAND — The Maryland House of Delegates Economic Matters Committee has advanced a bill that would give the Garrett County commissioners the authority to enact ordinances relating to setbacks and the decommissioning of wind turbines, according to a news release.

“This is a very large step towards providing some safeguards for the citizens of Garrett County,” Delegate Wendell Beitzel said.

The companion measure to H.B. 747, sponsored by Sen. George Edwards, has been unanimously approved by the Senate. The two legislators have sponsored measures to give local governments authority to regulate wind turbines during the past several sessions. However, this is the first time that the House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have approved the measures relating to Garrett County.

“Senator Edwards and I sought to put these protections in place prior to windmill development on Garrett County’s mountaintops. With passage of this bill, the commissioners will have authority to establish setback and decommissioning provisions for wind turbine projects. I applaud my colleagues for recognizing the need for this very important legislation,” said Beitzel.

Both measures must now be approved by the House and Senate by midnight April 9, when the 2012 legislative session ends.

During the Draft Land Management Ordinance work session in March, the county commissioners discussed an ordinance that would call for wind turbine setbacks of 2,000 feet from a residence, church, school or other occupied structure and 1,000 feet from a property line. The draft ordinance also addressed a decommissioning agreement requirement.

A third Draft Land Management Ordinance work session will be held April 10 at 10 a.m.

The two proposed wind turbine projects at St. John’s Rock and Four Mile Ridge are progressing. Eleven agreements have been recorded and executed with property owners for wind turbines on the St. John’s Rock ridge, according to Jim Torrington, chief of the Garrett County Permits and Inspections Division. In February, a metrological tower permit was issued to Synergics Wind Energy LLC for a tower along St. John’s Rock Road. Synergics has proposed 24 wind turbines.

The next step in the county permitting process would be a grading permit, according to Torrington, who noted that for the first wind project (Roth Rock) it took Synergics 18 months to get a grading permit. However, since Synergics has already been through the process, Torrington thinks that the process will be smoother and take less time. Gestamp Wind North America of Houston now owns the Roth Rock project.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com

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Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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2 more wind farms eyed in Garrett County, Md., home to state's first such projects

First Posted: September 20, 2011 – 12:15 am

McHENRY, Md. — Wind-power developers are considering two new projects in western Maryland.

The Garrett County Commissioners are set to hear an update Tuesday.

County officials say Clipper Windpower is considering a project called Fair Wind on Backbone Mountain south of Oakland. It would be just south of a 28-turbine wind farm Clipper built that is now owned by Constellation Energy Group. The company, based in Carpenteria, Calif., didn’t respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.

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Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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Constellation Energy opens 70MW Criterion Wind Project


Constellation Energy has officially opened the 70MW Criterion Wind Project. It is the first wind facility to be built and operated in Maryland, and consists of 28 wind turbines constructed over an eight-mile stretch along Backbone Mountain in Garrett County. The facility will produce enough renewable energy to meet the electricity needs of approximately 23,000 households.

Criterion Wind began commercial operation in December 2010. The facility produces energy that is sent to electric transmission lines owned by Allegheny Energy, which serves western Maryland. Energy produced by Criterion Wind is sold to Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, which entered into a 20-year agreement to purchase the energy and renewable energy credits produced by the facility. Old Dominion is a nonprofit wholesale power provider serving public electric cooperatives in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

“Criterion Wind is good for the environment and good for the economy,” said Kathleen W. Hyle, senior vice president, Constellation Energy, and chief operating officer, Constellation Energy Resources. “This new facility is part of Constellation Energy’s ongoing efforts to increase private-sector investment in renewable energy resources, helping Maryland meet its environmental goals and drive much-needed job growth. We’re looking forward to a long and successful partnership with the local community. Constellation is committed to being a good neighbor and corporate citizen.”

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Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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enXco Signs O&M Agreement For Roth Rock Wind Farm

by NAW Staff on Friday 05 August 2011

enXco Service Corp. (eSC), an EDF Energies Nouvelles company, has signed a long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) agreement with Roth Rock Wind LLC for its 50 MW wind project located in Garrett County, Md.

The project, owned by Gestamp Wind North America, consists of 20 Nordex Wind N90 turbines, each with a rated capacity of 2.5 MW. Of the 130 GWh of annual production, 80% will be delivered to Delmarva Power, with the remaining 20% going to the state of Maryland and the University of Maryland.

More here.

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

877-563-5350 – toll free