Support Small Wind in Baltimore County- Help Pass Bill 62-10!

Posted on July 26, 2010. Filed under: News, Recommendations | Tags: , , , , , , , |

**UPDATE** June 30, 2010: County Councilman Moxley is supporting Bill 62-10. Here’s his note to Gary:

Dear Mr. Skulnik,

Thanks for the email.  I am supporting the bill.


Sam Moxley

Baltimore County residents- support a new bill introduced by Councilman Gardina to promote small wind turbine installations in Baltimore County via a five year pilot program.

Get informed with the fact sheet and talking points below from Baltimore County Climate Coalition (BCAN’s Baltimore County Offshoot)


  • Currently wind turbines cannot be erected as a matter of right in Baltimore County.
  • Without a specific zoning law, turbines will continue to be subject to legal challenges and lengthy, costly and uncertain zoning processes.
  • Bill 62-10, “Zoning Regulations – Small Wind Energy System PILOT Program”, introduced by Councilman Vince Gardina on July 6, would set up a 5-year pilot program for small turbines.
  • Wind turbines could be installed as accessory to commercial agricultural and institutional uses in the RC zone (outside the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line, or “URDL”), and in manufacturing zoned parcels that are not next to residential properties.
  • Residential wind turbines are excluded from the pilot program.
  • “Wind farms” are not permitted.  Turbines must be for the property owner’s own energy needs, although excess energy can be sold back to the grid.
  • Once approved and erected, a turbine can stay up after the pilot program ends unless it is unsafe or out of operation for a year.
  • Applicants must apply for a building permit that includes a site plan demonstrating that the turbine meets limitations on height, setbacks, noise levels and other safety and aesthetic performance standards.
  • Ground-mounted turbines can’t be taller than 80 feet on lots of one acre or less.
  • For larger lots, ground-mounted turbines are limited in height by the property’s setback requirements and Federal Aviation Administration standards.
  • Ground-mounted turbines can’t be closer than 1.1 times their height from the nearest property line nor closer than 1.5 times their height from a neighbor’s house.
  • Roof-mounted turbines must meet the building’s height and setback restrictions.
  • Turbines can’t exceed 55 decibels as measured at the neighbor’s property line.
  • Meteorological towers (METs) can be erected to gather wind data for the site for a period of one year.  METs are NOT a prerequisite for erecting a turbine and can be erected after the 5-year pilot program sunsets.


  • Currently wind turbines cannot be erected as a matter of right in Baltimore County.
  • Without a specific zoning law, turbines will continue to be subject to legal challenges and lengthy, costly and uncertain zoning processes.  This bill came about because of a neighbor vs. neighbor lawsuit over a proposed turbine.
  • Bill 62-10, “Zoning Regulations – Small Wind Energy System PILOT Program”, is limited in scope and duration, informed by best practices around the state, and responsive to concerns raised at the Council hearing on the Planning Board recommendations.
  • Councilman Gardina worked closely with the Maryland Energy Administration on technical requirements and the County’s Planning Department on safety and aesthetic issues.
  • Limits:
    • The pilot program will sunset in 5 years.
    • Residential turbines and wind farms are excluded.
    • Turbines are permitted only as accessory to commercial agricultural and institutional uses outside the URDL and in manufacturing zoned parcels not adjacent to residential properties.
    • Height limitations, setbacks, noise levels and other performance standards are prescribed in the bill and vetted through the building permit process.
  • Seventeen other counties in Maryland and several municipalities have wind turbine ordinances on the books or in process, including our neighbors Howard, Carroll, Harford and Anne Arundel counties.
  • Wind turbines, or wind mills, have been used for hundreds of years in Baltimore County, particularly on farms.  The pilot program will protect the traditional, historical land use practice of harvesting benign, renewable energy to power operations on one’s own property.
  • Baltimore County has many properties with microclimates suitable for wind turbines.
  • The pilot program will improve the economic competitiveness and viability of Baltimore County’s agricultural, manufacturing and institutional communities by reducing energy costs.
  • The pilot program will support Baltimore County’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the County by 10% by 2012.
  • The pilot program will continue Baltimore County’s leadership tradition in environmental stewardship.
  • The pilot program will support the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 25% by 2020 – a legal requirement of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009 – and the renewable energy initiatives in the state’s Climate Action Plan.


July 27 Work Session, 2 PM. County Council will take public testimony on the bill.

August 2 Legislative Session, 6 PM. County Council will vote on the bill.

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Doing anything in DuPont or downtown Bethesda tomarrow?

Posted on July 14, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 14, Clean Currents will be in DuPont Circle and downtown Bethesda in the afternoon putting on the Mr. Coal Performance! The Performance will be about Mr. Coal’s new featuring product: MR. COAL POWERFUL MULTI SURFACE CLEANER, made my coal companies near you! Stop by, and enjoy the show!

Stay Tuned for Youtube videos!

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Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Act!

Posted on June 18, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , |

Clean Currents supports the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s efforts to get the Chesapeake Clean Water Act passed in congress. This pending legislation will strengthen the current Clean Water Act sections related to the Chesapeake Bay. Here are the main points from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation:

  • It places legally enforceable, science-based limits on pollution from all sources.
  • It gives states pollution reduction standards to meet and allows them the flexibility to achieve those reductions as they best decide. 
  • It provides significant funding for technical assistance to farmers so they can implement pollution controls, as well as funding for stormwater pollution controls.
  • It encourages market-based approaches to pollution reduction, which could provide an estimated $300 million annually to rural areas.
  • Today, Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents, sent this letter of support to the sponsor or the Senate bill, Senator Ben Cardin and the House bill, Congressman Elijah Cummings.

    June 18, 2010

    Dear Senator Cardin and Congressman Cummings,

     I am writing to let you know that I fully support passage of the legislation known as the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816 and H.R. 3852).  The bill would bring nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment levels in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries down to sustainable levels over the next 15 years. 

     Our business, Clean Currents, is a growing clean energy company based in Rockville, MD. We strive to provide affordable renewable energy choices for Chesapeake area homes and businesses. We serve over 7000 residential and commercial customers in MD, DC and PA.

     Clean Currents strongly believes in environmental conservation and protection locally. As a certified Montgomery County Green Business, we aim to be environmentally responsible in our daily operations by recycling, encouraging employees to use public transportation, conserving water and other resources, and educating the community about taking action to fight environmental problems.

    I applaud you for your vision and want you to know that I will do whatever I can to help your bills to pass the Senate and House in this Congress.  Please do not hesitate to draw on me if I can assist you in any way. 


     Gary Skulnik

    President, Clean Currents

    Take Action:

    Send your own letters of support to Senator Cardin and Congressman Cummings and to your Congressional represantives!

    The Honorable Ben Cardin
    United States Senate
    Washington, DC  20510
    The Honorable Elijah Cummings
    United States House of Representatives
    Washington, DC  20515
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    2010 MD General Assembly Wrapup

    Posted on April 15, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

    The 427th MD General Assembly has wrapped for the year.  Several important renewable energy bills were heard (and voted on) this year.

    Clean Currents would like to thank those elected officials who remained committed to green issues.  We would also like to offer a “spanks” to those officials who continued to deny the urgency of pressing for greater renewable goals.


    Thanks and Spanks for the 2010 Maryland General Assembly Session

    The Maryland General Assembly has wrapped up for the year and now the politicians are about to enter full campaign mode. Who was good for clean energy, and deserves a “thanks” from us and who was bad and deserves a “spanks” from us? The number one priority of Clean Currents and the environmental plus solar business community was Governor Martin O’Malley’s solar RPS improvement. Thanks to the hard work of Governor O’Malley and his people at the Maryland Energy Administration, plus our staff here at Clean Currents and hundreds of likeminded supporters, the bill passed. This is a huge accomplishment in an election year session. Big Thanks to Governor O’Malley! The bill increases the value of Solar Renewable Energy Credits and requires more solar installations in the state. This means more money for homeowners and businesses that want to go green with solar panels.

    In all, Clean Currents supported nine bills and opposed one as our top priorities for the session. Our record on these bills was pretty good. Of the nine we supported, four passed and will be signed into law, one passed the House but died in the Senate on Sine Die, and four were killed. The one bill we opposed was killed.

    The bills that passed include the above-mentioned solar RPS bill (SB 277), as well as a bill to force the utilities to pay consumers for excess green power they generate via net metering (SB 355) and a bill to make it easier to install solar on master metered properties (SB 538).

    BIG THANKS These are our big champions for the 2010 session:
    Governor O’Malley, Senator Rob Garagiola (Potomac), Delegate Sue Hecht (Frederick)

    THANKS These folks were consistent supporters of Clean Currents legislation, rock solid on solar and green energy.
    Del. McHale came up with the amendment that saved the Governor’s solar RPS bill in House Economic Matters. Sen. Catherine Pugh (Baltimore) Sen. Kathy Klausemeier (Baltimore) Del. Herman Taylor (Silver Spring) Del. Roger Manno (Silver Spring) Del. Brian McHale (Baltimore)

    BIG SPANKS There’s really one “superstar” of the anti-solar, anti-green energy side of the equation: Sen. EJ Pipkin (Eastern Shore)

    SPANKS These folks voted against the Solar RPS bill and/or were not supportive of green electricity bills:
    Sen. Delores Kelley (Baltimore) Sen. Alan Kittleman (Howard) Sen. Norman Stone (Baltimore County)Sen. Roy Dyson (Southern Md)Del. D Stifler

    Finally, I want to give a big thanks to all who wrote letters, emailed, or called about the vital pieces of legislation we supported for a cleaner, greener future.

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    Copenhagen Coverage…

    Posted on December 8, 2009. Filed under: News | Tags: , , |

    In case you missed it, the Copenhagen UN Climate Talks (COP-15) kicked off yesterday. Union of Concerned Scientists has some great coverage of the summit including videos of what’s going on in the negotiations and background info on the talks and climate policy in general.

    The UCS site can also help you contact your Senator and urge them to take action on climate…as Mike Tidwell suggested.

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    Why Do You Support Clean Energy?

    Posted on November 17, 2009. Filed under: Recommendations | Tags: , , , |

    Check out the Alliance for Climate Protection’s Wall of videos, pictures and messages from supporters of clean energy. Among the mix are students, celebrities (Fran Drescher, Bill Nye the Science Guy), NGOs, companies and clean energy supporters from numerous fields from all across the country.

    You can add your picture, video and message too! Its an inspiring break for a Tuesday afternoon!

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    How to Talk to Climate Change Skeptics

    Posted on November 5, 2009. Filed under: Recommendations | Tags: , |

    Grist has an interesting article today about a recent study released by Columbia University about the psychology of climate change communincation. It illustrates tips on how to explain and persuade skeptics to care about the climate change problem and take action with fun cartoons, like the one below.

    cow comic

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    In case you missed it…Awesome Video from International Day of Climate Action

    Posted on November 3, 2009. Filed under: News | Tags: , |

    Saturday October 24th was‘s International Day of Climate Action. People all around the world gathered to demand action on climate change. is an organization dedicated to teaching people about the signifance of 350. This is the parts per billion of carbon that scientists have agreed is a safe amount to have in the atmosphere so that the earth’s systems can continue to function properly.Where are we now? 387! So the point of and the protests on October 24th, was to get that number back to 350.

    Here is the video of events from that day, its pretty much guaranteed to get you pumped up:

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    Fake US Chamber of Commerce Press Conference Fools Press

    Posted on October 20, 2009. Filed under: News | Tags: , |

    Today, a group of activists called the Yes Men, staged a fake press conference at the National Press Club in which they pretended to be the Chamber of Commerce reversing their position on climate change legislation. The press conference initially got the attention of the actual media.

    See it for yourself:

    At about 5:10, the purpose of the stunt is explained. It is definitely in line with the Yes Men’s practice of “identity correction” in which they act in way they hope to see the people or organizations they are spoofing to behave.

    Here’s what NPR had to say about it.

    What do you think about this stunt?

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