BALTIMORE — The Maryland Public Service Commission received no comments June 29 on the plan by Costen Solar Inc. to construct a 10.625 megawatt photovoltaic generating facility behind the existing solar arrays at 33001 Costen Road.
The project will occupy some 58 acres of the 149 acre parcel owned by Chesapeake Renewable Energy LLC. The entire property was approved for three phases of commercial development in 2011, with the first phase generating 3.7 MW activated in 2012. It is located on 35 acres and is now owned by Brookfield Renewable.
A refreshed environmental assessment was prepared for the second phase and it received a special exception in April from the Somerset County Board of Zoning Appeals, and in May the site plan was conditionally approved by the planning commission.
According to Dane Bauer, senior vice president of H&B Solutions which is serving as a consultant on the project, wetlands are avoided in all phases with a 25 ft. setback. He said there are no stream crossings, it is not in a floodplain, and it is not in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.
"We’re going to use the same entrance that was established for phase one of the project," he said, and the interconnection while separate from phase one will go to the same Choptank Electric Cooperative substation across the road and be accessed by directional drilling.
Also representing Costen Solar at the hearing was attorney David Beugelmans.
Public Service Commission approval is required to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. A prehearing was held May 20 with the first hearing also held virtually on June 29. A second hearing before the PSC will be held Oct. 19.
This is Case No. 9662 and written comments are being accepted by Oct. 22 either electronically through the PSC’s website or by mail to the Maryland PSC, 6 St. Paul Street, 16th Floor, Baltimore, Md. 21202, attention Andrew S. Johnson, executive secretary.
Administrative Law Judge Christine Burke who presided over the hearing said County Commissioner Vice President Charles Laird was scheduled to take part but she could not see that he had logged in.