WESTOVER, Md.- A Massachusetts-based company wants to install two turbines in Crisfield to supply green energy for schools across Somerset County.
A “community wind project” with community benefits is what wind developers with Associated Energy Developers LLC are saying about a proposal to bring two turbines to Crisfield.
Somerset County Public Schools Spokesperson Leo Lawson said the school board is exploring alternative ways to provide renewable energy to county schools.
Associated Energy Developers have installed wind turbines in communities across the country. Now, developers want to bring a $4.5 million wind project to Crisfield. Project Coordinator Vincent Moschella said the company and its partners sought locations with high wind resources and the least environmental impact.
Moschella said Crisfield was at the top of the list. Sandra Gerber of Crisfield is happy about that.
” We are underpaid in Crisfield and we are all scraping every dollar we can get to do the best thing for everybody and ourselves,” Gerber said. “So, I feel it would be a tremendous help.”
Developers said they want to install two turbines on a spoil site near Woodson Elementary School. Moschella said the turbines would be no higher than 325 feet and could supply energy to up to nine schools with no cost to the county.
Krystal Gustafson’s daughter is a fifth-grader. She said she is okay with the proposal as long as the turbines are at a safe distance.
“I might not mind as long as it’s somewhere where it will be set back and not seen from a major highway, or if it is, use it so that it actually looks nice in the area; makes it look like it belongs,” Gustafson said.
This isn’t the first time AED put the proposal on the table. The company first introduced the plan to the board two years ago, but it was turned down. Lawson explained why.
“There was a charge involved in setting it [wind project] up, and the Board of Education did not want to incur those charges,” said Lawson, who was unsure about the amount of the fee. “They’ve [school officials] asked the company to figure out something different, and they’ve come back with a different proposal.
Lawson said concerns about the length of the project were also part of a previous decision to reject the plan.
“If the market is fluctuating and then all of sudden kilowatt hours from the electric company goes down and we’re locked into a contract, it could certainly be problematic,” Lawson said.
He said the school board will schedule a work session about the proposal. No date is set.
Meantime, Moschella said he hopes to have the project approved for installation next summer.
Moschella said $1.1 million will be covered through a state grant that was awarded to the company based on merit. He said the project will save the county an estimated $3 million to $4 million over a 20 year contract.
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