Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance is pleased that Mills Branch Solar/Apex has accepted the considered decision of the Maryland Public Service Commission that its proposed industrial scale solar project will not be built at the location it selected in the middle of prime agricultural land and the Chesterville District of the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area.
We hope that Apex’s stated commitment to the development of solar energy in Maryland will be evidenced by choosing to build its project in one of the areas in Kent County, or elsewhere in Maryland, where industrial scale solar projects are permitted. Otherwise, the loss of valuable solar generation capacity that Apex regrets will occur because of its failure to develop such capacity in an appropriate location in Maryland.
By stating that “The weight of the evidence of harm being caused, if the Project is built, was significant and was a major factor in my decision to deny the Application”, Public Utility Law Judge Dennis Sober clearly was not persuaded by form letters submitted by Apex nor by the unsubstantiated claims made by Apex and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) of job creation and generation of tax revenues.
In his thorough and thoughtful 50 page ruling, Judge Sober recognized and upheld the hard work of Kent County citizens and planners. He stated that,
“Local opposition was based upon a reasonable application of land use policies that are based upon local knowledge of what is the best policy for the citizens of Kent County.” Kent County leads the state in per capita renewable energy production because of the progressive energy policies established which designated thousands of acres for utility scale projects and supported residential and community solar development.
Because of the lack of a State energy policy to guide the siting of large-scale renewable energy projects to suitable locations, the citizens of Maryland are being forced to make a false choice of using land for energy or for food production. KCPA believes we can preserve farmland and open space while still making Maryland a leader in renewable energy production. KCPA is working with legislators to promote the use of over 100,000 acres of brownfields, superfund sites and other non-productive land for renewable energy production. We welcome the support of other conservation and environmental organizations to help articulate and pass legislation to expedite renewable energy while preserving competing land use values that are of equal importance.
KCPA would like to thank the Kent County Commissioners and Kent County Office of Planning and Zoning, the 36th District Delegation, Kent County Farm Bureau, Maryland Farm Bureau, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, 1000 Friends as well as our many supporters for their steadfast opposition to the effort to undermine local governance. We are very pleased that Kent County’s cultural, agricultural and historic landscape will be preserved.
Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance