March 25, 2015

Somerset wind turbine project suspended

by Jason Babcock, Staff writer | March 24, 2015 |

A wind turbine project planned for Somerset County across the Chesapeake Bay has been put into “indefinite suspension,” according to its developer in a letter to the Somerset County commissioners dated March 20.

The suspension of the project was reported Tuesday afternoon by WBOC, Channel 16 on the Eastern Shore, which posted the letter on its website.

The Great Bay wind energy project with wind turbines nearing 600 feet high was deemed a threat to national security last fall by the Department of Defense because of possible interference to a specialized radar system at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St. Mary’s County.

Adam Cohen, vice president of Pioneer Green Energy, said in the letter to the Somerset County commissioners, “it is apparent that we are no longer able to proceed with our investment in any way in the near term. We are forced to thus place the project in indefinite suspension and as such we will not be requesting a permit for construction of the Great Bay Wind project in Somerset County at the current time or in the foreseeable future.”

Green could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Maryland lawmakers proposed a moratorium on Pioneer Green’s wind turbine project last year to allow the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to complete a $2 million study of the impact on the radar systems. The bill was passed, but then vetoed by then-Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), a supporter of renewable energy for Maryland.

There is a new bill this year to strengthen Maryland regulations on wind facilities that encroach on other facilities, introduced by Maryland Sen. Steve Waugh (R).

In his letter, Cohen placed the blame at the foot of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), who included restrictions to prevent an agreement between the Great Bay project and the Navy that would have stopped the wind turbines from spinning while defense radar systems were tested.

“One of the most substantial obstacles to bringing jobs and new investment to Somerset County occurred in August of 2014,” Cohen wrote. “At that time, U.S. Senator Mikulski added language to an unrelated piece of federal legislation that placed the entire Great Bay Wind investment and business into a state of uncertainty.”

In the coming weeks, Cohen wrote, an affiliate of Pioneer Green Energy will present for an unrelated solar project in Somerset County.

URL to article: