Constellation Energy held a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 19 for its Criterion Wind Project in Oakland. Local business and community leaders and landowners were on hand for the dedication, as was Maryland Del. Wendell Beitzel and W. Kevin Hughes, Gov. Martin O'Malley's deputy legislative officer. The first wind facility to be built and operated in Maryland, the 70-megawatt (MW) Criterion Wind Project consists of 28 wind turbines constructed over an eight-mile stretch along Backbone Mountain in Garrett County. The facility will produce enough renewable energy to meet the electricity needs of approximately 23,000 households.
"Criterion Wind is good for the environment and good for the economy," said Kathleen W. Hyle, senior vice president, Constellation Energy, and chief operating officer, Constellation Energy Resources. "This new facility is part of Constellation Energy's ongoing efforts to increase private-sector investment in renewable energy resources, helping Maryland meet its environmental goals and drive much-needed job growth. We're looking forward to a long and successful partnership with the local community. Constellation is committed to being a good neighbor and corporate citizen." Criterion Wind began commercial operation in December 2010. The facility produces energy that is sent to electric transmission lines owned by Allegheny Energy, which serves western Maryland. Energy produced by Criterion Wind is sold to Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, which entered into a 20-year agreement to purchase the energy and renewable energy credits produced by the facility. Old Dominion is a nonprofit wholesale power provider serving public electric cooperatives in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
Constellation Energy's growing clean energy portfolio includes more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable power generation owned or under contract from sources including utility-scale solar, hydro and biomass power plants. The company currently owns and operates approximately 95 megawatts of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction for commercial customers throughout the United States. As part of the state of Maryland's Generating Clean Horizons initiative, Constellation Energy is developing a 17.4 megawatt (DC) solar installation on land that will be leased from Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Md. Currently the largest planned solar photovoltaic power system in Maryland, the system is expected to produce more than 22 million kilowatt hours of emissions-free electricity per year.