United States

United States

Maryland governor's veto allows 150MW project to go ahead

UNITED STATES: Maryland governor Martin O'Malley has vetoed a state bill that would have blocked a proposed 150MW wind farm due to its location near a naval base.

Two US navy planes fly over Patuxent River naval air station
Two US navy planes fly over Patuxent River naval air station

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The Democratic governor said that he decided to take action due to the "chilling message" that would have been sent to the renewables industry if the law had passed.

Under the bill, developers would have been barred from installing turbines within a 56-mile (90-kilometre) radius of the Patuxent River naval air station in Somerset county.

The construction of turbines in the areawould have been barred until at least July 2015, when a study of the effects of turbines on the naval base's radar system is due to be released.

This would have hit the 150MW Great Bay wind farm, which falls within the restricted area. Project developer Pioneer Green Energy had said that any delay to the start of construction of the project would mean it would not go ahead.

Pioneer Green had previously thought that it had reached a compromise with the navy that would protect the radar capabilities at the Patuxent River base simply by turning the turbines off during test flights.

However, the state's lawmakers voted to introduce the moratorium in the final days of the legislative session.

The governor's veto is likely to anger those legislators who voted 122-12 in the House of Delegates and 31-16 in the Senate in favour of the bill.

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