Library filed under Offshore Wind from Maryland
The measure sidestepped eight amendments proposed by House Republicans, aiming to restrict the project's cost on the state and taxpayers. Republican Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore and Harford counties noted that the offshore wind bill, if successful, would fail to meet the state's energy needs.
Jeff Zellmer of the Maryland Retailers Association told committee members the measure would cost jobs, not create them. The bill would limit rate increases for residential customers to $1.50 a month and businesses to 1.5 percent. However, Zellmer said supermarkets operate on a 2 percent profit margin and electricity is the second-largest cost for grocery chains.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.