Solarize Frederick County news

Frederick News Post
11/20/2013
As a special initiative of the Frederick County Green Homes Challenge, Solarize Frederick County aimed to increase installation of residential solar electric and hot water systems throughout Frederick County with volume purchase discounts and local incentive grants. To take advantage of these incentives, residents had to sign up for a solar assessment during the time — limited enrollment period and wrap up all contracts by Sept. 30. Sixty-nine households took advantage of the program. The households are installing 72 solar energy systems — 66 solar electric systems and 12 solar hot water systems. The households participating in Solarize Frederick County will be installing a capacity of 547 kilowatt (kW) equivalents; that equates to the production of approximately 656,400 kilowatt-hours each year. The Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources began informing residents about the Solarize initiative in late 2012. Nearly 500 households expressed interest in the program; of these, 308 attended Solarize informational workshops, and 347 requested solar assessments of their homes.

Environmental panel to feature Myersville resident

Frederick News Post
11/17/2013
Myersville resident Ann Nau will be one of several panelists with Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s nine-stop tour across Maryland, including Hood College on Monday. The panelists will address pipeline infrastructure, such as the proposed Myersville compressor station. Nau is vice president of Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community, a grass roots group organized to keep Dominion Transmission Inc. from building a gas compressor station in the small west Frederick County town. Nau has argued that DTI's proposed 16,000-horsepower compressor station is less than one mile from the Myersville Elementary School and would emit 23.5 tons of nitrogen oxide per year, risking lives. The panelists are protesting a new network of infrastructure — pipelines and compressor stations — to transport natural gas from fracking operations to Cove Point that will shipped to overseas markets. Large “energy companies benefit when communities like ours don't connect the dots between their plans and our health,” Nau said in a recent letter to the editor. “In the case of Dominion's $3.8 billion plan to liquefy and export natural gas from its Cove Point facility on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, you can bet they hope Frederick County residents don't (connect the dots), because we could pay a particularly high price,” Nau wrote. A recent MIT study found that Maryland has a higher death rate due to air pollution than any other state, resulting in the premature deaths of 113 out of 100,000 people per year, Nau said. Dominion's plan — to pipe across Maryland, liquefy and export nearly 1 billion cubic feet of gas from Cove Point every day — is a great deal for big gas corporations, but a lousy deal for Marylanders, Nau said.

Speaking out against Myersville compressor station plans

Frederick News Post
Ann Nau
11/03/2013
Energy giants like Dominion Resources, a Virginia-based multi-billion dollar corporation, benefit when communities like ours don’t connect the dots between their plans and our health. In the case of Dominion’s $3.8 billion plan to liquefy and export natural gas from its Cove Point facility on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, you can bet they hope Frederick County residents don’t, because we could pay a particularly high price. As The News-Post has reported, a recent MIT study found that Maryland has a higher death rate due to air pollution than any other state, resulting in the premature deaths of 113 out of 100,000 people per year. In Baltimore, that number jumps to 130 per 100,000, and Frederick has similarly high rates. While I applaud the state’s efforts to improve Maryland’s air quality, as noted in the recent letter from Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert Summers, I am gravely concerned about the consequences if state and federal regulators allow Dominion to move forward with its toxic emissions-spewing export facility. The Cove Point terminal in Lusby, currently designed as a gas import facility, is already in an area that exceeds federal limits for ozone pollution, which triggers asthma attacks and worsens respiratory illnesses. The facilities that Dominion wants to add at Cove Point to liquefy gas for export would spew more ozone pollutants, belching 279.5 tons per year of nitrogen oxide and 33.2 tons per year of volatile organic compounds. But how does this connect to Frederick County? As Dominion and other companies race to export natural gas to overseas markets, driving up domestic prices, they’ll need a massive new network of infrastructure — pipelines and compressor stations — to transport gas from fracking operations to Cove Point. In fact, Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI), a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, has proposed building a 16,000-horsepower compressor station in Frederick — within the town limits of Myersville, where I live, and less than 1 mile from our elementary school.

Court: Federal laws supersede local zoning ordinances for proposed gas compressor station in Myersville

Frederick News Post
Ike Wilson
10/09/2013
When the Myersville Town Council denied a request last year to build a 16,000-horsepower gas compressor station in the western Frederick County municipality, arguing that local ordinances preclude the project, Dominion Transmission Inc. disagreed and sued Myersville.The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled Monday that local zoning laws are pre-empted by the federal Natural Gas Act. According to the court ruling, those portions of the town code that prevent the siting, construction or operation of the Myersville compressor station are null and void. Dominion also sought an injunction against Myersville, alleging the town was delaying the process to build the station, but the court denied Dominion’s request, saying that the company has not completed other required processes for the Maryland Department of the Environment’s air quality permit. The gas compressor station, which compresses natural gas and pushes it forward, is part of a larger project being built to deal with customer demand for natural gas, according to DTI. The fight to keep the gas compressor station out of Myersville is not over.

Solar farm being considered for Myersville

Frederick News Post
Ike Wilson
08/14/2013
The Myersville Town Council pondered a conceptual plan for a solar farm Tuesday that would provide 70 percent to 80 percent of the municipal government’s daily electric needs. The project will entail several steps, Town Administrator Kristin Aleshire said, including identifying a suitable property for the undertaking, vetting the proposal publicly so residents are aware and identifying private investment to fund the venture. The viability of making the project is there, Aleshire said; it’s a matter of identifying private investment. “We’re not envisioning financing the project ourselves,” Aleshire said. Mayor Wayne Creadick Jr. said the town has already had some good discussions with RER Energy Group, the same firm that nearby Middletown officials are considering for their solar project.

Maryland’s New Emissions Plan Shows Climate Action Is Cost-Effective

World Resources Institute
Rebecca Gasper and Kevin Kennedy
07/26/2013
As impacts from climate change become more visible and costly, leaders across the nation are responding. In the wake of projections from the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science showing that Maryland could face sea-level rise of more than six feet by the end of the century, Governor Martin O’Malley unveiled a state climate action plan this week. The initiative will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also supporting job creation and economic growth. Sea-level rise will make Maryland–and other states on the Atlantic coast–increasingly vulnerable to costly and damaging floods, underscoring the urgency to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet. The actions described in Governor’s plan aim to achieve a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 2006 levels by 2020. According to analysis conducted by Towson University for the state, the plan is expected to produce more than $1 billion in net economic benefits and support more than 37,000 jobs, providing yet more evidence that smart environmental policy is smart economic policy.

Time to junk trash-to-energy programs like one in Newport?

St. Paul Pioneer Press
Bob Shaw
06/22/2013
A program based in Newport burns garbage to generate electricity. But it is also burning something else -- money. If it burned 30,000 dollar bills every day for 19 years, that would almost equal the $219 million in public subsidies it has received through 2013. As generators of electricity, waste-to-energy plants nationwide cost five times as much as solar generation, and 50 times more than natural gas. As a way to keep garbage out of landfills, the plants are outshone by programs that do the same thing at no cost to taxpayers.

Myersville residents to fight FERC decision with fundraising effort

Frederick News Post
Laura Blasey
06/19/2013
MYERSVILLE — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may have denied their request for a rehearing, but the residents of Myersville aren’t giving up without a fight. In the first of two community meetings, representatives of Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community met with about 15 residents Tuesday night to discuss appealing a FERC decision to not reconsider Dominion Transmission’s Allegheny Storage Project. The project would place a 15,000-horsepower gas compressor facility on a 21-acre property off Milt Summers Road. FERC approved the project in December. Town residents and officials who had concerns about the project's safety, size and environmental impact and filed the request for a rehearing in January. FERC rejected the rehearing request in May. “Local people I talk to in the community, they think we’re done. They think with the denial, it’s over and it’s just a matter of when do we move,” said Stephanie Flores, who attended the meeting. “We need to let them know it’s not over.”

New Frederick Green Homes Challenge website launches

Frederick News Post
06/02/2013
A new online tool will help Frederick County residents save money, adopt environmentally friendly practices and use renewable energy. The Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, or OSER, launched the new website www.FrederickGreenChallenge.org on May 17. FrederickGreenChallenge.org takes the Green Homes Challenge, a home-certification program previously operated through handbooks and paper forms, and puts it in a comprehensive online format.

Organization seeking to recognize green businesses

Carroll County Times
Carrie Ann Knauer
05/27/2013
A local environmental organization is aiming to connect eco-friendly businesses to eco-conscious consumers through a Green Business Network in Carroll County. The program is a collaborative effort by a committee composed of members of Waste Not! Carroll, Sustainable Living Maryland and the Catoctin chapter of the Sierra Club, said Sally Long, one of the committee members. Long said fellow committee member Don West came across a similar network of green businesses in Boone, N.C., and thought it would be a good opportunity for Carroll businesses and consumers.

Environmentalists urge Frederick delegate to switch ‘black liquor’ vote

County delegate says he won’t back bill to halt paper mill energy credits
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/04/2013
Despite pressure from a local global-warming group, Del. Galen Clagett of Frederick said he has no intention of changing his vote on a bill to stop financial rewards for paper mills that burn a tar-like substance called “black liquor” to generate power. The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is working feverishly to convince Clagett (D-Dist. 3A) to change his vote before the Maryland General Assembly adjourns its legislative session Monday night. “There is still time for him to change his mind,” said James McGarry, the network’s policy analyst, at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Frederick. “I hope he will change his mind.”

WTE and electricity pricing

Ellis Burruss
06/17/2012
One of the most basic rules of business is to buy products at wholesale for less than they are to be sold at retail. That's how profits are made. However, the people who are proposing to build a so-called "waste-to-energy" (WTE) incinerator in Frederick are basing their financial projections on selling electricity in 2015 at 8.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh). They are planning on a wholesale price that is much higher than the current retail price. Look at your most recent electric bill from Potomac Edison and you'll see that the retail price of electricity as of June 1 is 6.02 cents per kwh. The price will drop to 5.9 cents per kwh in October. Yes, electricity prices are going down.

Fact checking 'WTE 101, continued'

Frederick News Post
Karin Tome
11272011
If Harvey Alter were graded on his Nov. 17 commentary ("WTE 101, continued"), he wouldn't receive a very high score. It's not what he said, but what he didn't say. The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority will issue bonds to pay for the proposed trash incinerator, but the county is obligated (through a separate contract with NMWDA) to make regular payments to them, such as you would for your mortgage. The county's System Benefit Charge is not "so-called," but very real. As a member of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Alter knows very well that the primary revenue for this business operation is based both on tipping fees and the SBC fee (which is found on residential and commercial property tax bills and can be raised without limit.) If the revenue from tipping and SBC fees, and the electricity sales and ferrous metal recovery don't cover those expenses, county residents will have to make up the difference through higher SBCs. Alter states that "... anecdotal evidence from around the country is that communities with WTE recycle more" and "Recycling and WTE together conserve and recover more resources than either alone." That statement is true only where recycling is at a very low level and the tonnage of ash (if used for landfill daily cover) and ferrous metal found in the ash are counted as recycling. However, as recycling increases it will compete with incineration, especially for plastics and paper. We could spend, however, a fraction of the cost of the incinerator on alternative ways to divert waste from the landfill (such as a commercial compost facility or manned recycling centers throughout the county (in addition to Reich's Ford Road) and we'd be able to recover many more resources and conserve more energy than would be produced by burning them. For example: Manufacturing a ton of newspaper from trees takes 11,699 kilowatt hours; if that ton of paper is recycled, a new ton of paper can be made using only 6,442 kWh, but if it's burned it only produces 1,875 kWh of electricity.

Fact checking ‘WTE 101, continued’

Frederick News Post
Karin Tome
11272011
If Harvey Alter were graded on his Nov. 17 commentary ("WTE 101, continued"), he wouldn't receive a very high score. It's not what he said, but what he didn't say. The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority will issue bonds to pay for the proposed trash incinerator, but the county is obligated (through a separate contract with NMWDA) to make regular payments to them, such as you would for your mortgage. The county's System Benefit Charge is not "so-called," but very real. As a member of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Alter knows very well that the primary revenue for this business operation is based both on tipping fees and the SBC fee (which is found on residential and commercial property tax bills and can be raised without limit.) If the revenue from tipping and SBC fees, and the electricity sales and ferrous metal recovery don't cover those expenses, county residents will have to make up the difference through higher SBCs. Alter states that "... anecdotal evidence from around the country is that communities with WTE recycle more" and "Recycling and WTE together conserve and recover more resources than either alone." That statement is true only where recycling is at a very low level and the tonnage of ash (if used for landfill daily cover) and ferrous metal found in the ash are counted as recycling. However, as recycling increases it will compete with incineration, especially for plastics and paper. We could spend, however, a fraction of the cost of the incinerator on alternative ways to divert waste from the landfill (such as a commercial compost facility or manned recycling centers throughout the county (in addition to Reich's Ford Road) and we'd be able to recover many more resources and conserve more energy than would be produced by burning them. For example: Manufacturing a ton of newspaper from trees takes 11,699 kilowatt hours; if that ton of paper is recycled, a new ton of paper can be made using only 6,442 kWh, but if it's burned it only produces 1,875 kWh of electricity.

O’Malley to sign energy incentive legislation

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
05/18/2011
Gov. Martin O'Malley will sign a bill recognizing waste-to-energy trash incineration as renewable energy generation, disregarding pleas from environmental groups to veto it. O'Malley, who has been considering the matter for weeks, sent out a lengthy statement Tuesday evening saying he intended to sign the bill. It is scheduled to be signed at a ceremony Thursday -- the last of such ceremonies held after the conclusion of the Maryland General Assembly session last month. The bill will provide financial incentives for those operating waste-to-energy plants that convert trash into electricity through incineration. Such a plant is planned in Frederick County, where the commissioners have committed to building a waste-to-energy plant and are in the planning stages. Frederick County residents opposed to that plant had written emails to O'Malley asking him to veto the bill, joining efforts from environmental and health organizations from around the state.

O’Malley ponders veto of trash bill

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
04/30/2011
Gov. Martin O'Malley is considering requests to veto legislation that would provide financial incentives for electricity generation through waste-to-energy trash incinerators. More than 30 organizations signed a joint letter to the governor asking for the veto. The bill, which passed 24-20 in the Senate and 74-60 in the House of Delegates, would elevate waste-to-energy to the same level as solar and wind power when it comes to renewable energy credits. Nonprofit organizations in the areas of public health, the environment, and for promoting a sustainable economy said the bill would undermine Maryland's efforts to reduce overall energy consumption and fight global climate change. Frederick County, which is planning to build a waste-to-energy plant, stands to benefit from the legislation. If the legislation is enacted, the county would boost electricity revenue by selling credits. Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young wrote to O'Malley on Friday asking him to sign the bill into law.

O'Malley ponders veto of trash bill

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
04/30/2011
Gov. Martin O'Malley is considering requests to veto legislation that would provide financial incentives for electricity generation through waste-to-energy trash incinerators. More than 30 organizations signed a joint letter to the governor asking for the veto. The bill, which passed 24-20 in the Senate and 74-60 in the House of Delegates, would elevate waste-to-energy to the same level as solar and wind power when it comes to renewable energy credits. Nonprofit organizations in the areas of public health, the environment, and for promoting a sustainable economy said the bill would undermine Maryland's efforts to reduce overall energy consumption and fight global climate change. Frederick County, which is planning to build a waste-to-energy plant, stands to benefit from the legislation. If the legislation is enacted, the county would boost electricity revenue by selling credits. Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young wrote to O'Malley on Friday asking him to sign the bill into law.

State WTE legislation is moving too fast

Frederick News Post
04/11/2011
The state is supporting the concept of waste-to-energy incinerators with high-power support from Gov. Martin O'Malley, leading lawmakers and the Maryland Energy Administration for incentives to build the plants. The deal is this: Last week, in the closing days of the Annapolis session, which will end at midnight Monday for another year, lawmakers floated the idea of creating incentives for waste-to-energy plants. We're not sure where the idea came from, nor the motivation behind it. However, the energy administration has said the trash-burning facilities will help Maryland reach its 20 percent goal for renewable energy sources. The legislation will add waste to energy into the same "tier 1" category as wind, geothermal or solar plants, allowing the facilities to sell renewable energy credits at a more preferential price. That's the incentive. The state already has three waste-to-energy plants, the closest to us at Dickerson in Montgomery County. The fourth, controversially, is Frederick County's, which will burn waste from Frederick and Carroll counties. How this will play out for incinerator opponents and Frederick County's project will be interesting to watch.

Transmission line meeting set for June 17 in Frederick

Frederick News Post
Ed Waters Jr.
06/06/2008
Area residents will have an opportunity to meet with utility company officials June 17 to discuss the proposed PATH line. The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline is a high-voltage system that will start in West Virginia, cross Frederick County and end at a proposed substation in Kemptown. The $1.8 billion line is scheduled for completion in 2012, a date when experts say the area could face blackouts without additional power. The meeting will be held at the FSK Holiday Inn from 5 to 8 p.m. Additional meetings will be scheduled in August. It is a first step in a long process that will involve the public, the utility companies and public service commissions in Maryland and West Virginia, said Vernon Estel, director of transmission projects for Allegheny Power. The project is mandated by PJM, the firm that monitors power needs in a 13-state area.