Western Maryland Wind Farms Stalled
ONG>HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- Two windmill farms planned for the mountains of western Maryland remain stalled despite the General Assembly's approval of a renewable energy bill as developers await reinstatement of a federal tax credit.
Without congressional action on the tax credit, which expired at the end of last year, "it's going to be pretty difficult to move forward," Kevin Rackstraw, eastern North American regional leader for Clipper Windpower Inc., said Tuesday. "Not that it's impossible, but everything will happen at a higher cost, so people are less willing to do that."
Clipper, of Carpinteria, Calif., won approval from the Maryland Public Service Commission last year to place as many as 67 giant, three-bladed turbines atop Backbone Mountain, Maryland's highest ridge, in southern Garrett County. Another company, US Wind Force LLC, of Wexford, Pa., has been approved for a 25-turbine wind farm atop Big Savage Mountain in neighboring Allegany County.
US Wind Force Chairman David McAnally said Wednesday such projects would benefit from renewable energy legislation the General Assembly passed last week, encouraging utilities to obtain more energy from wind, solar and geothermal sources. Gov. Robert Ehrlich said Monday he was undecided about signing the bill, but it was passed by both houses with more than enough votes to override a veto.
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