Cumberland Times-News


November 19, 2009

PSC approves Backbone wind project

Synergics project to include 20 turbines; construction set to start in spring 2010

OAKLAND — More than five months after a public hearing in McHenry, the Maryland Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved a Synergics Wind Energy LLC project that will result in 20 turbines being placed atop Backbone Mountain.

Known as the Roth Rock Project, the 50-megawatt complex qualified for expedited review by the PSC. State law holds projects of 70 megawatts or more to a higher level of examination.

The project has long been supported by the Garrett County commissioners, according to County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt.

“Synergics has secured all the county permits necessary,” Pagenhardt said Thursday. “Those deal with things such as grading, storm water and sediment erosion control.”

In addition, Synergics, based in Annapolis, has obtained leases for the private lands upon which the turbines will be constructed, according to Pagenhardt.

Frank Maisano, a spokesman for a coalition of wind energy developers, said Thursday that Synergics has obtained leases involving four landowners including Interstate Hardwoods and will begin construction of the Roth Rock Project in the spring when weather conditions are favorable.

The project is on the portion of the mountain south of U.S. Route 50.

The company has a 20-year power purchase agreement in place with Delmarva Power & Light Co. to buy the energy generated in far Western Maryland, Maisano said.

The PSC ruled Wednesday that Synergics must keep the power grid safe and reliable and meet international standards for building turbines. The company must also file a new road plan with the county’s Office of Inspections and Permits.

Garrett County has no zoning regulations.

Just Tuesday, the county commissioners asked Sen. George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel to introduce legislation in the General Assembly that would allow them to establish setback requirements for future turbine placement and to require a bond to pay for razing of abandoned turbines.

Backbone Mountain is also the site for another wind energy project that has already been approved. Clipper Windpower would build 28 wind turbines there.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at

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