Library from Maryland
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.
Backers of offshore development point out that the winds off Maryland's coast are strong, a nearby energy resource that the state should exploit. But if the most efficient way to meet the mandate is to build offshore wind farms, then offshore wind farms will prosper under existing policy. If it's not, then they should not be built.
Offshore wind has been a harder sell. Installing turbines that can withstand harsh maritime environments is more costly than planting them in the middle of a field, said Chris Long, manager of offshore wind and siting policy for AWEA, a Washington-based trade group whose members include General Electric Co. and the U.S. unit of Spain’s Iberdrola SA.
O'Malley acknowledged that he is now less optimistic that offshore wind development could begin as quickly as he hoped. The governor also said that, given the apparent need for the industry to develop big projects that can gain cost advantages with size, he was no longer certain any state on its own could succeed in spurring development of offshore wind energy.
The proposal is renewing concerns raised by some western Maryland resident about the state's first two wind projects, in particular the towering windmills' proximity to homes and their potential to kill birds and bats, including one listed as endangered in Maryland. Some also worry that construction of this project could clear a large swath of forest and harm the nearby Savage River, one of Maryland's premier trout streams.
New Dimension Energy Company LLC, a subsidiary of FloDesign Wind Turbine Corporation, recently filed an application for a meteorological tower permit in Garrett County. The company hopes to build nine wind turbines ...Two of the wind turbines were denied Federal Aviation Administration approval for determination of no hazard to air navigation.
Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to establish an offshore wind farm might be poised to breeze through the General Assembly this year, but it will be at least five years before any turbines are constructed off the coast of Ocean City.
One of the remaining two African American lawmakers who had opposed the governor's plan, Sen. Catherine E. Pugh (D-Baltimore) ,helped negotiate $10 million in aid to minority-owned businesses that made the proposal palatable to the NAACP, said Maryland state conference president Gerald Stansbury.
A major portion - 75 percent - of the proposed Fourmile Ridge wind project in eastern Garrett County is in the state's designated "sensitive areas" as having rare, threatened and endangered species, according to Jim Torrington, chief of the Garrett County Permits and Inspections Division.
Governor Martin O'Malley appears to have cleared a hurdle in his quest to put a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City. It's a renewable energy project supporters say will reduce global warming. Political reporter Pat Warren has more on the plan.
More than a dozen residents of Schoolfield Street and the surrounding area attended the Jan. 14 meeting of the mayor and council seeking more information about the wind turbine proposed for the electric substation in the neighborhood.
The bill has yet to be introduced, but his administration announced that it would include a provision for residential customers to be charged no more than $1.50 a month on their electric bills to subsidize the costly process of building a 200 megawatt wind farm off the coast of Ocean City.
Under the governor's bill, the state would require Maryland's electricity suppliers to furnish up to 2.5 percent of their power from offshore turbines by 2017. And it offers a subsidy to encourage the construction of enough turbines off the coast to generate 1 percent of the state's energy needs, by guaranteeing developers a fixed price for the power they produce.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said Tuesday he will consider changes to the Senate Finance Committee, if that is necessary to advance an offshore wind measure to the full Senate for debate in the upcoming legislative session.
Garrett County residents urged the county commissioners to forward the draft of the land-use management ordinance, which establishes wind turbine setbacks, back to the Planning Commission during the public comment portion of Tuesday's county meeting. "I think solving this issue locally for our county politics is the best pathway for getting real meaningful setbacks in place here in Garrett County."
Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to reintroduce a bill to provide funding for an offshore wind farm - legislation that has twice failed to make it out of the General Assembly, an administrations spokeswoman said Wednesday.
"Our request is similar to what it's been in the past to introduce some form of legislation that offers some formal setbacks and decommissioning," said Raley during the Tuesday commission meeting. ...The bill was close to passing last year, Delegate Wendell Beitzel said.
"I cannot imagine that the state of Maryland is proud of the fact that the first commercial wind power project in the state - a short drive from our nation's capital - is the most deadly for birds in the entire country.
"This project is a realization of a worst-case scenario. This is why Save Western Maryland sued over the project in 2010, because of fears that bat mortality could be very high. As things have turned out, bat and other wildlife mortality, especially for birds, is far worse than expected," said Eric Robison, Co-Founder of Save Western Maryland.
The governor's proposal would have added $2 - later amended down to $1.50 in the House committee - to each residential customer's monthly bill, and tacked on a 2.5 percent fee to large commercial customers, in order to subsidize a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City.