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Easements for underground power line total $14.5 million

FROSTBURG – A wind farm developer seeking to run an underground power line through portions of Allegany County that will carry power generated by a wind farm in Somerset County, Pa., has entered into 18 easement agreements with local landowners, Allegany County and the city of Frostburg. The agreements total $14.5 million, Circuit Court Clerk Dawne Lindsey said Monday.

The $10 million project by Big Savage LLC, a subsidiary of EverPower Wind Holdings, has started with the removal of trees. Work on the power line will begin in Pennsylvania and move toward Frostburg, said Harry Benson, senior director of development for EverPower. The project is expected to be finished by August, and the line energized by October.

The line will run above ground for about seven miles in Frostburg and Allegany County and link up with a Frostburg substation. Plans are for it to pass under two parallel routes near state Route 36 and Spataro Lane, and under a portion of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and other county-owned property.

“I would just like to say thanks to local planning and permitting agencies in both Allegany County and the city of Frostburg for working with us,” said Benson. “It hasn’t been easy. But we are here and we are under construction. It’s been going on four years since we approached the city of Frostburg and the first land owner.”

Everpower will pay the city $80,980 every 10 years, with half the first payment on commencement of construction and the second half 30 days after the project begins commercial operation. Big Savage will pay the county $20,000 every 10 years for the easement.

Wind project landowners will receive about $3 million in lease payments for the first year and about $1.5 million every year thereafter or the life of the project, Benson said.

The Frostburg City Council approved the easement agreement in September and Allegany County Commission approved it in August.

Byco Enterprises Inc., a general contractor from Grantsville and Frank Stark, a Garrett County forester, will work on the project, Benson said.

Once the 68-turbine Twin Ridges Wind Farm is complete, it will be the largest wind farm in Pennsylvania and will generate 20 percent of the state’s total wind power, according to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. Construction is anticipated to require more than 200 full- and part-time workers and generate almost $20 million in direct and indirect earnings, according to the EverPower website.

EverPower has three operational wind facilities.