Cumberland Times-News

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December 23, 2013

FAA determines proposed Fair Wind turbines are no hazard

OAKLAND — The Federal Aviation Administration has determined that the wind turbines that are a part of the Fair Wind project proposed on Backbone Mountain are no hazard to air navigation — but with a condition. The turbines must be marked and lighted with white paint and synchronized red lights.

Some of the proposed turbines were originally presumed to be a hazard to air navigation because of their elevation, according to Jim Torrington, chief of Garrett County permits and inspections. The FAA determination for wind turbines at a higher level of elevation are subjected to a review if an interested party files a petition on or before Jan. 17, according to an FAA letter. If no petition is filed, the determination of no hazard to air navigation will become final Jan 27.

Torrington indicated that he thought that a wind turbine that is proposed for 3,655 feet above sea level may not be built.

 Fair Wind Power Partners LLC is proposing to construct a 2.5-megawatt wind turbine generator on a free-standing tubular steel tower on top of Backbone Mountain. The structure will be one of 12 turbines constituting the project, according to the FAA website.

During an administrative meeting earlier this month, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved Fair Wind Power Partners’ application to construct up to 15 wind turbines on Backbone Mountain — but with conditions.

Several residents wrote the PSC asking that the project be denied because Fair Wind Partners had not requested a variety of permits from the county Permits and Inspections Division. Mike Herdering, Accident resident, and Justin and Melisa Carrico, Oakland residents, voiced their concerns that Fair Wind Power Partners hadn’t requested a grading permit, entrance permit or building permit from the county.

Fair Wind Power Partners has reapplied for a stormwater management plan and erosion sediment control concept plan, which is part of the grading permit. The department is in the process of reviewing the concept plan and comments will be provided next week, according to Torrington. Fair Wind Power Partners will also be required to submit a site development plan and a final plan.

The project, which would generate 30 megawatts of electricity, is slated to begin in the spring of 2014 and be operational in 2015.

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

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