Plans to construct a battery energy storage system are moving along after the Calvert board of appeals voted to grant the project applicants both a special exception and a variance. The votes were taken at the board’s September meeting.
In a memo to Robert Bukowski, the board of appeals clerk, a representative from the engineering firm Weston and Sampson explained Ameresco Inc. was planning to build the 20-by-40-foot commercial power generating facility on Dalrymple Road in Chesapeake Beach. The land where the facility will be built is owned by David and Robin Harris. The subject property is 72.16 acres.
The special exception was needed to construct the facility in a residential community district and the variance is requested in order for the applicant to reduce the arterial setback from Bayside Road from 100 feet to 35 feet.
“The proposed project will disturb approximately 4,574 square feet and result in 3,213 square feet of added impervious area,” Bukowski stated, adding that “1.77 acres of the property are within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Zoning District limited development area. The proposed project does not impact the critical area.”
Eric Anderson of Ameresco explained that the facility will support Baltimore Gas and Electric’s infrastructure. The utility, which provides electricity to the northeast area of Calvert — including the municipalities of North Beach and Chesapeake Beach — is planning to implement the storage facility as part of a pilot project. The site will be monitored remotely.
Underground and overhead electrical lines will connect the battery energy storage system to the point of interconnection.
The applicant will need an access permit from the Maryland Department of Transportation. The project area property lease will require the approval of the county’s agricultural preservation board.
No written public comment on the project was received.
During the applicant’s presentation and board discussion, a caller to the virtual meeting expressed concern about training local fire departments to respond to a potential fire at the facility, which operates via lithium ion battery.
“The local fire service in Calvert County is very sophisticated in its training,” said Daniel O. Baker, board of appeals member who is a longtime fire and rescue volunteer, adding that putting out lithium fires is part of that training.
In an unrelated incident, Chesapeake Beach experienced a brief power outage due to a transformer fire on Route 260 in Owings on Tuesday night. Approximately 10,000 outages occurred and lasted less than two hours.