SRA Board Meeting Minutes

SRA Board of Directors Meeting

July 20, 2010, Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center

Bob Whitcomb is unavailable tonight. Don Morris-Jones, 1st VP, called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM. He introduced Delegate Ron George as guest speaker.

Topic: Greenbury Point windmills: summary of the presentation follows:

Delegate George also introduced Christopher Burgess (and Marcellus Butler also involved in the planning, also present).  Former Naval Radio Transmitter Facility site at North Severn is the site for this potential project.  Del. George organized a meeting with parties to discuss.  Navy had put up some windmills at Guantanamo Bay.  More of a community wind project than some of the projects discussed.

Mr. George introduced Chris Burgess, at Alpha Wind Energy.   This discussion is about a different project from the project mentioned in tonight’s Capital.  “Community Wind” is a term referring to fitting small groups of strategically placed wind generation turbines, without the problematic extensive transmission lines of remote wind farm projects. These are more efficient and cause less disturbance to the environment than some of the ridge-top projects.

Economic advantages, up to 20% discount from utilities. For every 1MW of capacity, there are 22 direct and indirect jobs: maintenance on site, operations and maintenance monitoring, manufacturing & transport of the turbine. They’re integrated with the local community. Many domestic and international corporations own wind farms, but small land owners tend to own community systems.

Examples: Cleveland OH at the Great Lakes Science Center: right by stadium. Provides about ¾ of the power for the science center.

Hull, MA: over 10% of the Town’s energy supplied by 2 coastal turbines. One modern 1.5 MW wind turbines produces enough power for 500 homes. By  the high school baseball field. Rotor diameter 80 feet.

Portsmouth RI: Rotors about 100 feet, 1.5 MW tower. Supplies the majority of the muiciap electric demand. (Featured on the National Geo Channel).

Atlantic City, NJ for their wastewater treatment plant. 7.5 MW facility. Enough electricity for 2,200 homes.

Fox Island, ME: 4.5 MW facility, 1,500 homes.

Greenbury Point idea: Planning has gone on with Navy over the past few years. Advantages seen for this project: Good wind resource (the Bay).  Mixed use recreational site. Close to where it could be used (Annapolis) and close to a substation.


It costs about $1million per mile for transmission lines, so making wind farms economical is tricky. Support from the local community helps local projects.

Question about whether the towers would remain: at least one will probably.  There is communication equipment for emergency services on the tower.

Mike Robinson asked Ron George: You mentioned shoreline issues would be addressed.  He didn’t provide a lot of detail but said it has been discussed.

The Wright brothers did some test flights on this site. Professor at Naval Academy is working on using the site as an educational project.

Wind quality of this site is “class 2” which is not optimum and is an issue, but this level is common in Germany and is successful there.

Preliminary studies were done. The study showed potential of the site and suggests 6 to 7 turbines (18-21 MW which could provide about the load of Annapolis). This estimate is with about 20 mph winds. Also looked at interference to communication or navigation. Maintain mixed land use on the site. Want to be able to sell the power to Navy and others. And in an emergency, power could be switched exclusively to the Navy.

History on site: Greenbury home, history, first Naval Flight School. Cold War Radio Communication, Could also enhance energy independence/combat climate change.

There is capacity in the towers to upgrade them. We don’t know the life expectancy of these turbines. They seem to be pretty reliable: approx. 25-30 years estimated.

Navy has approved funding for the Met-Tower. Expect to put up a tower to test the wind.  Has a small base. Records measurements of wind, air density, bird detectors on the guy wires keeps birds away. An analysis will be done on how much power could be generated and how much could it be sold for. And which turbine would be selected…and keep meeting with community leaders.

For 6 turbines: $18 million approx. That’s about a 5-year payback.

We have no wind projects now in MD. Want to minimize disturbance to habitat and environment. Need to meet renewable mandates for the State and Federal government.

Academy would directly benefit. They don’t need the local government approval, but they have a good neighbor policy and would like local buy-in. 

Q: Will it benefit Annapolis: people close will get some of the energy through the grid. Will reduce about 5 to 6,000 tons of carbon per MW.  Will displace coal-power generated electricity. Huge benefit.  Getting very close to the cost of coal generation, especially with all the scrubbers and environmental requirements.

Poplar Island has a bird sanctuary, so will likely not be a good site for wind generation.

Gene Milgram mentioned big coal plant project might be planned and big hearings on the transmission lines that would be needed. Sierra Club plans a forum on this topic this fall.

Nuclear plant:  highly controversial for lots of reasons, and take a long time to build one, so hard to predict.

MD energy outlook: MD Energy Administration: predict needs of 30% additional power for MD.

Question about the wind farms near Palm Springs: the efficiency has improved greatly since those were put in.

Birds: They do kill birds (especially those old models with open towers and fast turbines), no place for birds to nest, reduces raptors preying on nesting birds.  Current turbines spin more slowly.

Now often upwards of 450 feet high if needed. Can generate a range of 10 KW to 1,650 KW in the examples shown.

The first in MD will soon be in Garrett County.

Shoreline at Greenbury Point: what plans? Restoration of shoreline: Partnered with Trilicorp that does facility work with DOD. They suggested shoreline restoration.  Perhaps habitat restoration.

Quote from Naval Facility Command in today’s paper: if the wind is strong enough, the Navy plans to pursue it. 

Q: What level of wind are they looking for?  5.5 meters per second at 60 meters. They look at a year of data, and they compare to local records to see how it compares to past years.

Old Business (took 5 minute break before starting)

Betsy Love presented our first SAF grant to Anne Jackson of OSPIA.  There’s a steep slope, started with a rain garden and will continue with check dams and better stormwater controls. And eventually divert the water from a failing stormwater outfall with Keith Underwood’s design.

Q: Betsy Love reported: Waiting for response from County on Cypress Branch. There’s a huge ravine caused by stormwater. They are planning a bigger, sturdier pipe and run it into a forebay, but it is inaccessible for cleaning. So the plan is to work with the County for a re-design with better water quality controls.

100th Anniversary Celebration: looking for a site to reflect the significance of this event. The Gov. Calvert House is available, but the cost could be $50 per person for a meal and a glass of wine. What does the crowd think of this cost? A few folks said $50 sounded good to them.  Some suggestion was for $65 with the extra to go to SRA for programs etc. Discussion was made that other fundraisers may be at the event. One person said maybe not to add the donation. We could add a line with an additional suggested donation.  A quick show of hands showed the room supported a $50 ticket price. We need to guarantee 50 attendees, but could accommodate up to 100 at that location.

Oyster Project: The program is starting again this year.  If you are interested in oysters, think about how many people in your area might like to participate this year.  Need to feed that info back to Chris Judy.  They are a little short on cages, but have plenty of spat.  All the cages from last year can be filled with new spat. Would like to supply each person with a total of 4 cages.  Clean your cages to prepare for new spat.

Monitoring Rezoning Applications: Earl Bradley is about half way through looking at the permit applications.  Don Morris-Jones will get additional analysis from Earl Bradley, review his info with the SRA Land Use Committee (Don M-J, Richard Falk and Pat Lynch) and provide recommendations at the August and September meetings. 

Constitutional Amendments:  Pat discussed: Exec Comm. Meeting discussed streamlining meeting to reduce time to spend on things like budgets in the meeting.  Suggested amendments to shrink the elected directors and the executive committee. And create an exec board to make business decisions only. Sent out a list to make sure officers and elected directors. 

Kurt Riegel said he is concerned that reps from the community associations have not been in the loop up to this point. And if you read the proposed amendments, it seems that the community associations will be removed from the decision making. He is concerned that it will become a closed, private club.  And he doesn’t like that idea.

Pat says it will be on the Web site for review and will be posted with 30 day notice for a special meeting.

Kurt is also concerned about a special meeting being called. Usually this is done on an emergency basis. He doesn’t understand why this requires a special meeting.

New Business

The slate of candidates for the Exec Comm is: Betsy Love, Thistle Cone, Don Morris-Jones, Steve Barry, Sally Hornor, and Lynn Rockenbauch.

Bob vom Saal brought up that he felt the Exec Comm could make decisions that would be voted on at the next monthly meeting.

Jake asked if we could recognize speakers before they speak.

Discussion was made of who is on the board and the bylaws.

Kurt Reigel made a motion to approve the slate proposed for the Executive Committee.  It was seconded and approved unanimously.

Letter of Support from Kincey Potter for stormwater legislation.  Approval  was received from the group to support this letter.

Al Johnston: first public hearing will be on August 2 at the County Council.  A group of the river keepers put together a draft bill.  Planning and Zoning has the responsibility. Amendments will probably be presented on Aug 2.

Kurt is a member of committee reviewing this legislation as rep of Severn River Commission.

The 100 foot buffer is part of the discussion point.

Meeting Adjourned 8:58 PM

(Revised June 2011)