Westover, Md.- Plans for a new wind farm could be delayed until next year if some southern lawmakers have their way.
The Maryland House of Delegates recently passed House Bill 1168 to push construction of 25 wind turbines back 15 months. Some lawmakers are concerned that spinning turbines will interfere with the radar system at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
A spokesperson for Pax River said they commissioned researchers with Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study ways that may reduce interference. Adam Cohen, vice president of Pioneer Green, the Texas-based company behind the wind energy project, said his company reached an agreement with the Navy to turn the turbines off 950 to 1500 hours a year to avoid interference.
Cohen said the $200 million project would provide clean, renewable energy to residents, and it would bring more jobs and revenue to Somerset County. Michael Eby lives near the proposed site. He supports the project.
“I think it would be a good thing to get power from the wind; something that’s natural for electricity, ” Eby said. ” Sometimes you may have something that you don’t think looks best, but it serves it’s purpose. ”
“Sometimes it may be a little unsightly, but it serves a purpose that we need,” he said.
E.J. Monheiser lives in the area. She is part of the Safe for Somerset coalition. The group supports legislation to delay the project.
“This monster is going to be 600 feet tall,” said Monheiser, who looked across her yard trying to envision the turbines popping up across the street from her home.
She is concerned about the safety of the community as well as wildlife. Eagle-taking permits would be granted to the company.
” The noise, the sound problem; the children are going to have to try and go to school and sit in the middle of these things, ” she said. ” A lot of it is just not the turbines, it’s also the issues with Pax River’s unique radar system.”
A public senate hearing on the legislation will take place April 1.
Cohen told WBOC that his company will not move forward with their investment if the bill to delay the project is approved. He said it would “kill the project.”