- Pioneer Green Energy informed Somerset County, Maryland, officials it is canceling its proposed 150 MW Green Bay wind installation due to opposition from Southern Maryland lawmakers concerned about interference with the specialized radar at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
- To protect the station’s 20,000 jobs, lawmakers imposed a 15-month moratorium on development but it was vetoed by then-Governor Martin O’Malley last year. U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski won a delay on development that expires in September, but Maryland’s General Assembly is considering legislation banning wind development on the state’s Eastern Shore completely.
- Somerset leaders welcomed the $200 million investment because of the jobs and the $2 million to $3 million in annual tax revenues it would bring to the state’s poorest County. Environmentalists heralded the project as important to Maryland's renewables portfolio.
Pioneer Green Energy is now focusing on solar for Somerset County. There are 3 wind projects in western Maryland but opposition continues, on aesthetic grounds, to Apex Clean Energy’s proposed 130 MW Kent County installation on the Eastern Shore.
Wind turbines and radar can coexist, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has jurisdiction over any structure over 200 feet tall. Turbines are nearly 500 feet tall. Developers must apply to the FAA for a Determination of No Hazard before building a turbine. A Determination of Presumed Hazard initiates an appeal process.
Federal agencies with radar assets — the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — are notified through the FAA process and may trigger the Presumed Hazard finding.
The DOD/Navy lifted objections to a few projects in South Texas after developers signed memorandums of understanding to help fund siting, software, or hardware mitigations and potentially to limit turbine operations when necessary.