City leaders want wind energy in Salisbury’s future

City officials will work closely with Pioneer Green Energy, the company bringing wind energy to neighboring Somerset County, hoping the massive project will generate jobs in Salisbury and boost the economy.

“We are in close coordination with Pioneer Green because they are bringing a $440 million economic investment over 10 years to Somerset County and that can positively affect Salisbury if we work closely with them,” said Jake Day, president of the Salisbury City Council.

“Bringing wind energy to Salisbury eventually could be a minor piece of our discussions, but the more important piece would be jobs for us,” Day said. He said he can envision parts for the Somerset project being made at Salisbury’s industrial park.

Mayor Jim Ireton said he wants to be sure Salisbury is involved with Somerset’s natural energy project. Salisbury officials, along with the Greater Salisbury Committee and Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, “have all been of one accord to be sure to get in on this at the ground level,” the mayor said.

Day said he developed a relationship with Pioneer Green  Energy, based in Austin, Texas, and met with officials there about new jobs in Salisbury. Ireton was invited to that meeting.

 “We could coordinate with the universities,” Day said.

“I could see that being a real part of this …  it’s complex and there’s definitely job criterion aspects, creation aspects and energy cost-saving aspects of this. Our goal would be to save the city money on our power purchases and then to create jobs,” Day said.

“Clean energy is something we’re interested in because  of the positive environmental impacts. Both clean energy for Salisbury and economic development can go hand in hand. I think both could be tremendously beneficial for Salisbury and Wicomico County,” Day said.

By the end of the year, the Salisbury City Council could be talking about bid proposals for a long-term wind power purchase agreement for the city, he said.

“Having never been involved in the development of a wind farm, and regulations, and never having purchased energy for our city before, I don’t know, but I think we  have a real willingness to work with this and other clean energy providers,” Day said.

He called looking into natural energy for Salisbury “a good idea,” and Ireton agreed.

If the city eventually got wind power, turbines wouldn’t have to be close by, Day said, because power would be distributed by Delmarva Power, the transmitting company.

“We would still have to work with power producers like Pioneer Green, whether it’s nuclear, wind or solar,” he said.

Contact Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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