The chief public utility law judge of the Maryland Public Service Commission, in an April 2 proposed order, said that a certificate of public convenience and necessity is granted to Jones Farm Lane Solar, LLC, (referred to as the company) subject to certain conditions, in relation to a 64.0-MW alternating current (AC) solar project.
The proposed order will become a final order of the commission on April 17, unless before that date an appeal is noted with the commission, or the commission modifies or reverses the proposed order, or initiates further proceedings.
As noted in the proposed order, the company in December 2016 filed an application for the certificate authorizing the construction of the Jones Farm Lane Solar Project inside a parcel of about 647 acres located at 148 Jones Farm Lane, Millington, Md., of which 337 acres will contain the project site.
According to the application, the project will cost about $105m, the proposed order noted, adding that the project will interconnect with the PJM Interconnection system through a DPL 69-kV circuit.
The company reported that the project has been assigned Queue Position AB2-135 by PJM. The proposed order added that the company intends to interconnect its project with DPL’s Church-New Meredith 69-kV circuit via a new 69-kV substation with 3-position ring bus, which will be built on the project site.
The company noted that the project will provide some measurable offsets to the approximate 41% of generation power imported into Maryland. The proposed order also said that the company stated, for instance, that given the nature of solar power generation, the project will lead to reduced and more certain costs of electricity produced. Furthermore, the company represented that the project will increase the state’s current solar electricity output and help Maryland in reaching its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goals. At the time the application was filed, the RPS mandated that 20% of Maryland’s electricity be generated from renewable energy sources by 2022, which must include at least 2% solar energy, the proposed order added.
The proposed order noted that the company’s compliance with the final license conditions will result in the project satisfying the federal and state environmental laws and Queen Anne’s County’s zoning ordinances governing utility size solar arrays located in the county.
Among other things, the conditions call for construction of the project to begin within three years of receiving the certificate and for the project to be in operation no later than four years after receipt of the certificate.
According to the proposed order, the conditions also note that the project and all adjacent properties are to be protected by appropriate containment structures from spills or leaks of transformer fluids and other biologically detrimental substances.
In addition, given the vicinity to habitat appropriate to certain sensitive species, the conditions call for the company to notify and consult with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, to determine appropriate actions if additional rare, threatened, or endangered species are encountered during planning, construction, or maintenance of the facility.
The proposed order also noted that the conditions call for the company to develop a process to document and address complaints related to visual impacts associated with structures within the project’s perimeter fence.