Clean Power

Published on March 22nd, 2013 | by James Ayre


Offshore Wind Energy In Maryland Is Nearly Here, Historic Bill Headed To Governor’s Desk After Passing Senate

March 22nd, 2013 by  

Large-scale offshore wind energy will soon be a reality in the state of Maryland, thanks to the recent approval of the historic “Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013.” The bill will earmark $1.7 billion dollars for the development of an offshore wind farm along Maryland’s coast. The wind farm will be funded by a $1.50 monthly surcharge on consumer electricity bills.

offshore wind farm

Offshore wind farm via Shutterstock

All that remains now is for the bill to be signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley.

Maryland is a prime location for offshore wind energy thanks to its large expanse of shallow water, significant wind resources, and its already existing industrial infrastructure. When combined with the substantial support in the state for renewable energy, it’s no surprise that the bill passed. As Climate Progress notes, “a 2013 poll [showed that] 72 percent of Maryland residents would be willing to pay $2 more per month for their electricity bills to develop an offshore wind industry.”

Even with the surcharge, the bill should be an economic boon to the region. Climate Progress adds:

The Governor’s office estimates the project would create 850 construction jobs and 160 supply and operation and maintenance jobs. According to an analysis completed by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, a 200 megawatt project would create $1.3 billion in economic activity over a five year period, generating $5.6 million in state tax revenue. And data from the National Academy of Sciences suggests Maryland stands to gain $17 million in annual public health benefits as a result of reduced fossil fuel use for electricity production.

The U.S. is lagging rather far behind many other countries with regards to offshore wind energy. Hopefully the approval of this bill will help to catalyze the development of a national offshore wind industry.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Otis11

    I would much rather see another charge per KWH, not a monthly charge. With the monthly charge everyone pays the same.

    Tax those who use the power most! Give them a choice to use less power or pay the extra tax. Don’t impose taxes indiscriminately!

  • igrowcorn

    Utilities are eager for wind as a hedge against fluctuating fossil fuel costs, wind sells contracts for long term at fixed rate, what company doesn’t like that business model?

  • KitemanSA

    Oh good, another big pot of money for the wind subsidy harvesting companies to suck dry. What a waste!

    • Bob_Wallace

      It really bothers you that federal subsidies have dropped the cost of onshore wind by greater than 6x and the same will happen with offshore, eh?

      Must really make smoke come out your ears when informed that subsidies have cut the price of solar panels almost 200x in the last 30 years.

      Man, do you hate seeing our tax dollar investments pay off….

    • justsaying

      KitemanSa, you complain about wind/PV support from government. But let me guess your are fine with the free money Fed gives coal and gas and oil. I bet you don’t write your congress person asking them to make coal pay it .5-1 trillion a year in heath externals. Or to stop the much large tax loopholes for coal, oil, gas, nuclear? Why is it only green energy that should be short changed in the energy playing field. Level field my #ss.

    • justsaying

      Please check out the Fossil fuel link just to the right. To see where you tax dollars really go.

  • JustSaying

    Its a great first step. Yes, better would have been. Carbon tax on whole country, 50% direct pay back, 50% to set up a de-carbon bond fund. Which returned flat 4% (fed tax free) on investment, bonds funds used for energy eff, and green (no-nuclear) power funding (0% if payback in 5 years, 2% if 10 years) . Come on 4% fed tax free beat the pants off what the bank will give you. As the carbon tax raise if “too much” cash is raised, used for eff on fed/state/local buildings.

  • Marshall Harris

    We could have so much more offshore wind in the US than this, but I call this a good start nonetheless.

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