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Wind farm’s 60-day appeal term expires

The proposed Fourmile Ridge wind project in eastern Garrett County 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.

Project developer Synergics hasn’t resubmitted the project to the FAA, according to Jim Torrington, chief of the Garrett County Permits and Inspections Division.

FAA approval 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.

VHF omnidirectional radio range is a type of short-range radio navigation system that enables pilots to determine their position and stay on course by receiving radio signals transmitted by a network of fixed ground radio beacons.

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

Following comments and suggestions from the County Permits and Inspections Division, Synergics has revised its sediment and erosion control plan as well as the stormwater management plan, which includes about 90 plan sheets, according to Torrington.

The Maryland Public Service Commission approved the Fourmile wind project in April, and Frank Maisano, spokesman for the Synergics project, had previously said construction will begin as soon the permits are issued by the county.

Projects like Fourmile Ridge, that have been in the PJM queue, which deals with interconnections to the electrical grid, are exempt from the legislation that was recently passed that requires wind turbines in the county to comply with certain setbacks, according to Torrington.

Other wind projects in the county are moving forward.

Construction on 20 wind turbines near Friendsville that are part of EDP Renewables North America (Horizon Wind Energy) Winding Ridge will likely begin next year, according to Torrington.

EDP Renewables North America was issued a determination of no hazard by the FAA in 2011; the determination is only good for 18 months, said Torrington.

EDP Renewables received an extension on the FAA determination that is set to expire in November 2014 unless construction is started.

New Dimension Energy Company LLC, a subsidiary of FloDesign Wind Turbine Corp., has received approval from the county board of zoning appeals to construct a meteorological tower in the Deep Creek Watershed, according to Torrington.

The company hopes to build nine wind turbines between Bittinger Road and Bowman Hill Road.

The FAA also determined that two proposed MET towers – one at Garrett College and one in the Piney Run Dam area near Frostburg  – have been determined to be of no hazard to air navigation.

The determination was issued to Associated Wind Developers LLC, of Plymouth, Mass., with the one at Garrett College to be used for a year-long wind study and the other for a proposed two-megawatt wind turbine near Frostburg.

The projects will be funded with a grant through the Maryland Energy Administration Game Changer Program, according to Torrington.

The program was created to provide cost-sharing grants for innovative clean energy generation technologies and market strategies in Maryland, according to the MEA website.

The projects are funded based on their ability to help the sate meet its renewable energy portfolio standard of 20 percent by 2022, and the grant recipients’ progress toward that goal will be evaluated for two years following their award.