Solar farm developer withdraws application, mulls plan changes
— Another proposed solar energy farm in Kent County has been halted, but not necessarily for good.
In a letter to the Kent County Commissioners dated Sept. 27, Urban Grid President Frank Depew wrote that the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity application with the Maryland Public Service Commission for the proposed Morgnec Road Solar LLC project has been withdrawn as the company considers additional changes to the plans.
An application was submitted to the PSC last winter. The plan was to build a 57.04-megawatt solar array on 255 acres of land, known as the Clark Farm. The proposed site is located along Morgnec Road, just outside the Chestertown limits.
The project received opposition from Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance, the Town of Chestertown, the Kent County Commissioners and others.
Their concerns were that the proposed site is an area of potential growth, that the project did not support local zoning and that having a solar farm — as Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino put it — would be “a negative to us as a community.”
Depew wrote that after seeing the opposition, Urban Grid met with officials and organizations — like the Kent alliance and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy — to “gain support and incorporate local input into the design.”
He wrote that the project’s new plan incorporated ideas like a sheltered picnic area, a children’s playground, an educational facility, various forest nature trails and a “community solar portion” of the project.
“Unfortunately, I understand that opposition remains to the solar project as
proposed,” Depew wrote. “Rather than present the project and the amenities to the community now, in an attempt to gain local support, we are pulling our CPCN application to provide us and the community sufficient time to re-evaluate the project and amenities we can offer.”
He wrote that though Urban Grid is optimistic about the development of Morgnec Road Solar LLC, it recognizes that “significant” changes need to be made to the design.
“In taking a pause, we hope to work collaboratively on refining our proposal so that it better accounts for a project and associated amenities that are acceptable to the Town and County,” Depew wrote.
Commissioner President William Pickrum mentioned Urban Grid’s decision at the Kent County Commissioners’ meeting Tuedsay. There were no comments from the commissioners or the public.