Today Baltimore County Councilmembers will vote on a bill that would launch a pilot wind energy program. The Baltimore Sun reports that if the bill is approved, the five-year pilot program would test small wind energy systems for use in both rural and industrial areas.
The bill would limit commercial and institutional sites to small wind systems — typically a single turbine mounted on a tower or building. Free-standing systems could be built only in rural and manufacturing zones not adjacent to residential areas.
“Obviously, we have to get away from use of fossil fuels,” said Councilman Vince Gardina, sponsor of the bill. “This pilot program gives us time to put this project in place.”
Opponents said noise and aesthetics are the most troubling aspects of wind-power development, which several surrounding counties have permitted or are considering.
Several residents complained during a council work session Tuesday that they have not been given enough input into the approval process, which they called ambiguous. The county has held several public hearings on the issue.
Many others, including wind industry experts, attested to the success of the technology and asked the county to at least allow the pilot program. The first step would be a yearlong wind measurement to collect data and determine if enough wind exists to drive the turbines. The bill also addresses safety, lighting and appearance requirements.
In addition to the pilot wind energy program bill, the Council will consider a bill on cell towers in rural areas. For more information click here.