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State takes closer look at Garrett wind project  

The Maryland Public Service Commission is requiring more information from Criterion Power Partners, LLC for the proposed Backbone Mountain wind turbine project.

According to a letter sent by Terry Romine, executive secretary of the PSC, to Kevin Rackstraw, developmental leader at Clipper Windpower, the commission has several questions about the interconnection agreement that would allow the wind turbine project to connect with the grid and Allegheny Power.

“With this particular project,” Todd Meyers, spokes-man for Allegheny Power, said, “the company’s studies were done three years ago. The interservice connection agreement with Clipper, ourselves and PJM (grid operators) was entered into in August of 2005.”

The agreement, Meyers explained, allowed for Clipper to connect into the system to sell electricity in the PJM market. Meyers said this is the first part of the process that Allegheny Power gets involved in when dealing with the developer of any generation facility. After that, the companies would enter into a construction agreement within about 45 days of the connection agreement.

That didn’t happen, Meyers said, and about a year after the connection agreement, it was put on suspension for up to three years. The suspension would put the project on hold, but would maintain PJM and Allegheny Power’s approval of the original plans.

The PSC has raised questions as to how Criterion can activate the same agreement that was suspended in August 2006. The letter said there were differences in the project – specific milestones for the original Clipper project and the new goals of its subsidiary, Criterion.

“For example,” Romine’s letter reads, “the commission notes that Section 12.0 reflects the maximum facility is 100 (megawatts); however, the application states that the maximum output of the facility is 70 (megawatts).”

Romine’s letter suggested that Criterion obtain written verification that there will be amendments made to the agreement after it is reactivated.

The reactivation process and procedures were “unclear,” the PSC said, and requested information on this as well.

Meyers said he was not certain what would be necessary to reactivate the original plans, based on the changes made to the project, but that most projects that are suspended are given three years before an agreement must start from the beginning.

The PSC also requested clarification whether there was one agreement or two for interconnection.

Meyers said if Criterion is told to go ahead on the project and the companies maintain the original agreement, Criterion would be responsible for the construction of a 138-kilovolt transmission line and Allegheny Power would need to create a substation at Kelso Gap near Gorman.

“The substation would be our station,” Meyers said. “But these are all hypotheticals.”

Sarah Moses

Cumberland Times-News

13 May 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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