Cumberland Times-News

April 17, 2013

With stipulations, PSC agrees to Fourmile waiver

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— FROSTBURG — The Maryland Public Service Commission is recommending that Fourmile Wind Energy LLC’s request of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity waiver application be granted. However, it has placed conditions on the Fourmile Ridge wind project, according to a letter to David Collins, executive PSC secretary, from PSC Office of Staff Counsel.

“In light of the limitations the commission has recognized with respect to wind energy CPCN, staff has no objection to granting the waiver. However, staff notes that the applicant has not filed a final interconnection agreement between the applicant, PJM and Potomac Edison,” said the letter.

Fourmile Wind Energy’s request for approval to construct up to 24 wind turbines in eastern Garrett County is listed on the draft administrative agenda for Wednesday’s PSC meeting.

A set of similar conditions allowed Synergics to construct the Roth Rock project but precluded it from going into operation until those conditions were met.

PSC staff is recommending that the same conditions that Synergics met when building the Roth Rock project be applied when building the Fourmile Ridge project.

Two weeks prior to putting any portion of the project in service, Fourmile Wind Energy shall file with the commission a listing of transmission system improvements re-quired by PJM as well as a listing of the requirements of the interconnecting transmission line owner and certify that interconnection requirements have been met, according to Craig Taborsky, electric generation transmission engineer, on behalf of the PSC.

“The project should not have an adverse effect on the grid providing it meets the requirements of the PJM’s impact studies and interconnection service agreement,” said Taborsky.

One of the conditions suggests that construction on the project begin within one year of approval of the waiver and that it must have at least one functioning wind turbine within two years.

An exemption from the CPCN requirement will put the Fourmile Ridge wind project on the fast track.

Construction has been slated for spring.

Taborsky also recommends that Fourmile Wind Energy grant state agencies access provided proper notice is given and any upgrades to the transmission system are required to be in service after the startup date and should be listed with a completion date.

Another recommendation is that expansion, including more turbines or higher output, will be subjected to further review by the PJM and PSC.

Synergics developed the Roth Rock project on Backbone Mountain, which began operation in 2011. That project contains 20 wind turbines at the tune of $110 million.

The Senate bill that requires wind turbines in Garrett County to comply with certain setbacks passed and is awaiting Gov. Martin O’Malley’s signature or veto. The house bill that was cross-filed with the Senate bill failed.

“The legislation will not be effective until Oct. 1, 2013, so Fourmile, if their plans are as expected, will not follow under any of the conditions of the legislation,” said Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator. “The legislation is an act of emergency measure, is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health or safety, and shall take effect from the date it is enacted.”

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.