Wind Project Stalled in Somerset County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wind Project Stalled in Somerset County

WESTOVER, Md.- The wait continues for developers who have invested millions of dollars into a new wind project in Somerset County.

Officials behind the Great Bay Wind Energy project need approval from Somerset County Commissioners to move forward. The new delay comes months after Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) vetoed a bill that could have potentially killed the project that would bring 25 wind turbines to Westover.

In a statement, Project Manager Paul Harris, expressed his desire for company, Pioneer Green Energy, LLC, and Somerset County to work together on the project; they need the support. He said, “Green Bay is excited to begin working hand-in-hand with the county to make this $273 million investment a reality for citizens of Somerset County.”

It is a plan Earl DeVincentz, a resident in Westover, is looking forward to.

“Given the state of the electric and gas prices, maybe this will help bring it down a little bit,” DeVincentz said.

Developers brought county commissioners up to speed on their plans at an afternoon meeting Tuesday. Commissioner Charles Fisher tells WBOC the board needs more times to examine the draft ordinance. Fisher said part of the delay is due to the possibility of higher turbines. He said the turbines would be at least 500 feet high. Harris said the height has not been finalized yet because the type of turbine has not been selected.

E.J. Monheiser, who lives in Marion Station, said the height does not bother her, the distance from the turbine’s base to a non-participating residence does. According to the draft ordinance, the setback would be 1,000 feet. Monheiser said it is too close.

“If it [turbine,blades] falls and it's only a thousand feet from your back door, and you've only got 300 ft more, then, my God, what happens when you have a 700 ft monster falling on the ground,” Monheiser said. She went on to explain that if commissioners enforce ‘reasonable’ setbacks, it would ease concerns.

Harris said 1,000 feet is industry standard.

No word yet on when commissioners will move forward with the proposal or ordinance.

Developers hope to break ground as early as 2015.

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