Wind turbines send tax money to Oklahoma counties, study finds

CUMBERLAND — A proposed project to place 17 wind turbines on Dan's Mountain was approved Wednesday by the Maryland Public Service Commission.

The approval allows Dan's Mountain Wind Force LLC to construct the turbines on the mountain's ridge line near the communities of Midland and the Harwood Subdivision, along with Vale Summit, Cresaptown and Bel Air.

By a 4-1 vote, the PSC agreed to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project, which is required for it to proceed. The hearing was held in Baltimore via video conferencing and lasted one hour. 

“In many ways, this project is a perfect example of a win-win," said David Friend, managing partner of project developer Laurel Renewable Partners, in a news release. "Not only will it bring new tax revenue, good construction jobs, and a handful of operations and maintenance jobs, but it will also continue to stimulate the local economy and harness Western Maryland’s inexhaustible wind resource for clean energy production. It also supports Maryland’s renewable energy goals.”

The turbines should be installed by the end of 2021, according to the release.

The primary opposition to the wind farm has come from the Allegany Neighbors and Citizens for Home Owners Rights Limited, or ANCHOR. It's members have argued that the turbines create excessive noise pollution, light flicker and destruction of neighborhood views. They also fear the turbines, which are nearly 500 feet in height, will negatively impact property values.

The wind farm project has been denied in previous attempts to gain approval by the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals and the PSC. However, in October 2019, a new group of zoning board members approved the wind farm in a 2-1 vote on appeal.

Darlene Park, president of ANCHOR, said Wednesday she was disappointed by the ruling.

"I'm surprised. Mainly because they made a major decision on the long view of this project," Park said. "How can you support an application that doesn't have any details? They couldn't even tell (the PSC) about how tall and how big these turbines are. They didn't know critical facts about the turbines and the site plan."

Park said she was disappointed especially since the project was denied in previous zoning board and PSC hearings.

She said more than 100 people from the communities directly impacted sent letters and testified against the project. Park said ANCHOR has not given up the battle.

"We fought a good fight. We fought for 12 years," said Park. "We will review our options. Our executive committee and our attorneys will make a decision on our next move."

Follow staff writer Greg Larry on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.

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