Dan’s Mountain Wind Force runs into opposition for Maryland project

In a May 13 order, a Public Utility Law Judge at the Maryland Public Service Commission set May 26 for oral arguments on an objection by the Allegany County Board of Commissioners to a Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity on a 59.5-MW wind facility in Allegany County.

Dan’s Mountain Wind Force filed its application with the PSC in January, saying this proceeding would override a stalled local approval process in Allegany County. The county board on April 7 objected to this PSC case, saying that court appeals by the company of adverse county rulings should be allowed to take their case. It asked for a stay of this proceeding, or outright dismissal.

On April 28, Dan’s Mountain Wind Force responded to the county’s motion, saying: “The Motion relies entirely on a case so completely inapposite as to be bewildering. It further compounds the effect by representing to the Public Service Commission that the County Commissioners are a party to the current proceedings on judicial review of the decision of the Allegany Board of Zoning Appeals’ (“BOZA”), even though the County Commissioners are not actually a party. Moreover, the County Commissioners’ complaints about the burdens they face in opposing Dan’s Mountain’s efforts in this forum ring hollow when it was they who adopted land use ordinances hostile to wind development subsequent to Dan’s Mountain’s exemption from the requirement to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“CPCN Exemption”).

“Dan’s Mountain should not (indeed, cannot legally) be penalized for having attempted to work —and for continuing to attempt to work —within those ordinances by now being shut out of the statutory remedy of pursuing a CPCN. The County Commissioners advance a public policy argument amounting to a claim that each of Maryland’s county governments should be permitted by the Commission to be able to veto unilaterally (1) all wind generating stations up to 70 megawatts (“MW”), but not larger ones; (2) all generating stations up to 25 MW with at least 10% of their electricity consumed onsite, but not ones that are larger or have slightly less on-site consumption; and (3) all generating stations designed to provide on-site generated electricity if the capacity does not exceed 70 MW, but not ones that are larger. That makes no sense. More to the point, that is not the law; there is no legal basis on which the Commission could grant the Motion. Finally, the Motion flies in the face of clearly-expressed State policy favoring renewable development. For all of these reasons, the Motion must be denied.”

The company added in conclusion: “Dan’s Mountain has spent six years attempting to work with the County and with the Board of Zoning Appeals within the context of the CPCN Exemption, with no end in sight. It now looks to the Public Service Commission for relief, and is entitled to a proceeding on its application.”

Dan’s Mountain Wind Force in its Jan. 14 application requested: a waiver of a two-year notice requirement; consideration of its application under a timeline that would permit construction to commence in the fall of 2016; and a finding by the commission that its issuance of a CPCN in this matter preempts the application of Allegany County’s land use ordinance, which would otherwise preclude construction of the project.

Dan’s Mountain is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Laurel Renewable Partners LLC, a privately-held developer of renewable energy projects out of Pennsylvania.

The project has been in development since 2001 and will include three arrays of wind turbines to be erected parallel to and upwind of the northwesterly facing slope of Dan’s Mountain. The facility will consist of 17 utility-scale turbines, each mounted on a free-standing tubular tower. At present, turbine models are expected to be General Electric (GE) 1.79-100, GE 2.4- 107, or a combination of both models. However, other models may be considered as wind turbine technology continues to advance.

The site is located in western Allegany County and is composed of 28 privately-owned, leased parcels totaling approximately 2,800 acres located three to four miles southeast of the City of Frostburg and about seven miles southwest of the City of Cumberland.

A company contact is: David K. Friend, Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC, 645 E. Pittsburgh Street, #356, Greensburg, PA 15601, dkfriend@laurelrenewable.com.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.