Wind power on Delmarva: the next energy frontier
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Sept. 14, 2011) - The formation of renewable energy development company was announced today before the start of a Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Institute forum at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Eastern Shore Energy LLC will focus on creating renewable energy projects with an emphasis on harnessing wind power at multiple sites in Somerset and Worcester counties. The new company is looking to build several systems capable of generating 100 to 150 megawatts not only from wind but also solar and biomass projects.
The regional initiative is the result of a partnership between the Maryland Hawk Corporation, (a non-profit affiliate of the university) and National Renewable Solutions LLC of Minneapolis, Min., an affiliate of National Wind LLC.
“The launch of Eastern Shore Energy represents the culmination of UMES’ recent efforts to promote the development of renewable energy production within our region,” said Dr. Ronald Forsythe, UMES’ vice president of technology and commercialization.
UMES committed to sponsoring a 2-megawatt solar panel project on campus two years ago, Forsythe said, “and we have been seeking to continue the effort to support renewable energy development ever since.”
“We believe the community-ownership development model favored by National Renewable Solutions will create the greatest economic value for our region, as well as foster continuing educational benefits for UMES students,” Forsythe said.
"It's what a land-grant university in the 21st century should be doing," he said.
Eastern Shore Energy LLC currently is studying the feasibility of three wind projects within the two Lower Shore counties and expects to identify additional sites over the next several months.
“We believe the current sites offer the opportunity for the first 30-to-60 megawatts of wind development potential within these two counties, said Patrick Pelstring, president of National Renewable Solutions LLC, who also serves as the new development company’s manager. "We are encouraged with the initial findings,”
UMES’ recent venture into developing a solar energy system with a private-sector partner caught Pelstring's attention and convinced him to approach the university's non-profit affiliate about working on a wind-energy project.
“Maryland Hawk Corporation will play a key role in our success in this effort," Pelstring said, "and ESE’s ownership structure is consistent with our community ownership model.”
Daniel S. Kuennen, Maryland Hawk Corp.’s executive director, said, “We’ve made definite headway on several fronts.”
“By creating a development partnership with a national renewable energy company, we believe we are providing a business model for local individuals and companies to benefit, and helping reduce the continuing escalation in electric congestion charges on our local utility bills through local-area generation,” Kuennen said.
Down the road, Forsythe said, UMES is hopeful students will benefit from being able to see and study wind-energy production upclose.
The new company’s next steps will include installing anemometers on towers in the two target counties to collect wind data, and seeking participation of public and private landowners in the company’s prospective development projects. ESE expects this initiative will be a long-term commitment of five-to-seven years, but hopes to have its first project ready for construction in the next 24-36 months.
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