Wind Turbine Project Could Be At Risk In Somerset Co. - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Wind Turbine Project Could Be At Risk In Somerset Co.

Posted: Updated:

SOMERSET CO., Md. - Somerset County is currently the poorest county in the state of Maryland, and one big chance to turn that around could be at risk.

"It's the best shot Somerset County has climbing up the economic ladder in the foreseeable future," says Rick Peterman, who is one of the 200 homeowners gearing up for a wind turbine to come to their property.

The project, Great Bay Wind Energy Center, would include a more than $200 million dollar investment for a 150-megawatt wind farm, that would utilize the winds in Somerset County to produce clean and domestic energy. According to the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, the Great Bay Wind will bring in $2.9 million in new tax revenue the project's first year of operations, and over $44 million over 30 years.

However, that could all change if a group of state legislators get their way. House bill 1168, now on the way to the senate, includes a requirement for a study on how the turbines would affect the radar system at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, which is right across the bay from Somerset County.

The group behind the project, Pioneer Green Energy, says they already addressed the issue.

"We made an agreement that makes sure their mission continues today as it will throughout our project," says Adam Cohen, vice president and founder of Pioneer Green Energy. "We have agreed to shut off our turbines while they run their tests."

"It's allowing people on the Western Shore to dictate how people here over in Somerset County use our land," says Peterman.

Supporters of the legislation also fear the project could take away jobs from Southern Maryland, yet jobs are exactly what many Somerset residents say their county desperately needs.

"I think our people feel that it's a slap in the face to the county from our fellow Marylanders because we've been through so much," says Joseph Mangini, executive director of the Princess Anne Chamber of Commerce. "This would help our schools, help our businesses, help our people , our standard of living."

Mangini estimates that the project could create at least 100 jobs over the process of building the facility, which is set to begin the end of this year or early next year. He also predicts about 12 or 15 permanent jobs could come from the project.

"A good majority will hopefully be Somerset County residents," says Mangini.

As the bill moves onto in the Senate, Cohen hopes legislators prevent the measure from moving any forward.

"This bill takes that win-win and turns it into a total loss for the state," says Cohen. "That sends an entire message to the business community to go to other states."

A spokesman from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says they are currently undergoing a study due to requirements under the Bald and Gold Eagle Act, which also requires them to look at all of the environmental impacts of the project. They say the study is expected to be completed in the late summer or early fall.

WMDT reached out to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station for a comment about the legislation, and we are still waiting for a response.

  • ContestsMore>>

  • Teacher Who Makes A Difference

    Teacher Who Makes A Difference

    The WMDT 47 Teachers Who Make a Difference Contest is Sponsored by Accurate Optical: "Encouraging children of all ages to come in for an annual eye exam to help them see better in school." Each month weMore >>
    The 47 ABC "Teachers Who Make a Difference" Sponsored by Accurate Optical Encouraging children of all ages to come in for an annual eye exam to help them see better in school.More >>
  • Free Tuition Contest

    Free Tuition Contest

Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WMDT. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.