Through our Six-to-Fix program, Preservation Maryland has joined our partners in conservation, including the Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance, to help to prevent the often permanent alteration of Maryland’s historic rural farm land by dispersed energy projects. On January 10, 2017, a large-scale project was denied licensure – and a ruling in support of conservation and preservation.

Advocacy Update: On February 10, 2017 the Public Service Commission’s proposed order denying the application was finalized. Previously, on January 10, 2017 Public Utility Judge Dennis H. Sober issued his decision to deny the licensure of the Mills Branch Solar project in Kent County, Maryland.

The proposed Mills Branch project was a test case for preservationists around the state concerned about the proliferation of dispersed energy projects into prime agricultural lands and cultural landscapes. The decision upheld local zoning which outlawed this industrial use in the middle of the heritage area.

The proposed project, which would have involved over 300 acres of land in the middle of the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area, was denied on multiple grounds, including its impact on historic resources. The potential of this project and the broader implications of its licensure is what compelled Preservation Maryland to name Kent County’s historic landscapes a Six-to-Fix project in 2016. The decision represents a clear victory for the organization’s program.

Preservation Maryland Executive Director Nicholas Redding explained:

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this case and see it as a victory for our state’s history and heritage. This positive decision would not have been possible without the dedicated support and involvement of our local partners at the Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance and we are proud to have partnered with them on this effort by selecting this as a Six-to-Fix project in 2016.”

In the days ahead, Preservation Maryland stands prepared to work with members of the Maryland General Assembly to find common sense ways to avoid these confrontations in the future; to support local land use and zoning; and to incentivize the establishment of clean, renewable energy on marginal lands instead of on our state’s most historical and agriculturally productive ground. The organization firmly believes we can have clean energy and preserve our heritage at the same time.