Library filed under Impact on Economy from Maryland
U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), whose district includes the Patuxent River naval base, has been a leading proponent of the state legislation, working behind the scenes to round up votes by arguing that the windmills' impact on the economic fortunes of the naval base and neighboring communities may be dire. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) issued a statement to The Baltimore Sun over the weekend saying she, too, favors delay -- a potential blow to wind power advocates given her popularity throughout the state.
House Bill 1168 would prevent the state from approving construction of wind turbines that exceed a range of heights within the Atlantic Test Range used by the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. If approved, the legislation would suspend construction of the 70 megawatt Great Bay wind project in Somerset County.
Governor Martin O’Malley’s aggressive green agenda has favored expensive renewable-energy sources, driving up the cost of electricity. The 784,000 Marylanders who are living in poverty, and many more on the brink of it, have been particularly hard hit, even though sometimes the cost is offset by subsidies. Since O’Malley assumed office in January 2007, residents’ electricity rates have increased by 43 percent.
O'Malley's latest proposal will cost electric consumers more than $2 billion. It will raise the price of electric power for all Marylanders. Particularly hard hit will be supermarket chains, which consume huge amounts of electricity, industrial plants and small businesses that can ill afford another government-mandated expense.
Annually, residential customers will pay a total of $41 million under the bill, and commercial and industrial consumers will pay $54.8 million, according to a state analysis. The developer of the project will recover about $1.73 billion from customers over the life of the project.
Among too many political leaders, the argument that carbon-free energy is as much — or more — about “green jobs” as it is about addressing global warming has turned from a politically expedient talking point into an economically dubious article of faith. Confusing the goals of clean energy leads politicians to saddle their states with expensive policies, such as Mr. O’Malley’s green-power protectionism, instead of seeking to secure the best deal for electricity consumers and the environment.
The governor proposed adding a threshold test in which state regulators would kick out proposals projected to raise an average family's electricity bill by more than $2 a month in the first year. The administration anticipates the financial impact will decrease after the first year if fossil fuel prices continue to rise.
"A large number of us on the committee were very concerned that the governor was willing to place this burden on the back of the Maryland ratepayers," Kittleman told WMAL. "Why don't we wait for five years to see if the prices will come down, and then we can enter into a long-term contract if necessary."
A start-up wind company official said with federal stimulus funding and state permits, the doors to the former Bayliner plant at Mexico Farms could have local people back to work by the holiday season. John Congedo, president of AC~Wind, listed online with a Grantsville address, told the Times-News Tuesday that AC~Wind has contracted with Brunswick Corp., parent company of Bayliner, to use its facilities in Cumberland and Salisbury.
Jon Boone is a intervenor in a Maryland Public Service Commission windpower case (No. 9008). On September 16, 2005, he formally submitted his direct testimony in this case. His testimony and attachments cover the gamut of issues surrounding the wind industry.
Jon Boone addresses wind power for the Mid-Atlantic region.