Frederick Nixes Solar Deal

A deal to build a 10-acre solar facility in Frederick County will not move forward.

The city of Frederick and Shams Solar Energy Center have ceased negotiations on a solar project and power purchase agreement, Calvert Energy President and CEO Brian Quinlan wrote in an email Tuesday.

Calvert Energy is the parent company of Shams Solar Energy Center.

According to The Frederick News Post,

The power purchase agreement would have allowed Shams Solar Energy Center to produce renewable energy for the grid that would be applied to city government buildings’ electric bills. The deal would have saved the city more than $3 million in electricity costs over 25 years.

The city of Frederick put out a request for bids in October 2015 to purchase renewable energy, and Calvert Energy’s bid was selected.

The 2.4-megawatt system was designed to allow the city of Frederick to meet its energy goals set in the 2014 Renewable Energy Policy. Approximately 40 percent of the renewable energy goal is already met at the wastewater treatment plant, city Sustainability Manager Jenny Willoughby has said.

Read the full article for more information.

Energy Facility Siting is one of MACo’s legislative initiatives for the 2017 session. For decades, the state has exercised a very narrow pre-emption of local planning and zoning authority for major power plants, grounded in the need for the larger power grid to receive ample power supply. Recent cases before the state’s Public Service Commission threaten to dramatically widen that principle, applying it to virtually any generation facility, regardless of its size or importance to the regional power grid. A new generation of power facilities – from solar farms to alternative technologies – could be freed up to ignore local zoning and oversight. This decision threatens local land use control — and the important rights of communities to guide their own historic, agricultural, and residential character.

Click here to read energy siting coverage on Conduit Street.