O’Malley Pushes For Offshore Wind Energy

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Large sections of ocean off Maryland could soon become home to giant power-producing windmills if a plan put forth by Governor Martin O’Malley becomes law.

But as Mike Schuh reports, for it to happen, all of us will pay more for the clean power.

To speed up the arrival of wind turbines, the governor is pushing legislation requiring the four large electric companies in Maryland to buy, for 20 years, the clean power from a windmill builder.

“And we estimate the total economic impact over five years will be $1.5 billion and $14 million in state tax revenues,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley.

But opponents say, the cost of the wind power is higher than what can be bought from other utilities and that will hurt businesses and consumers.

“Every Marylander, every business will substantially month-after-month, year-after-year be paying monthly this high electric cost,” said Bruce Beraeano, Safeway Foods lobbyist.

O’Malley agrees. It is higher, but not much per month.

“The $1.45 cost is the difference between having two incandescent light bulbs in your homes versus two compact fluorescent in your homes,” Gov. O’Malley said.

Others say that figure is closer to $3 a month and opponents say you’ll pay twice.

“These businesses cannot absorb the costs without passing them on to try to make some profit,” Beraeano said.

After the hearing, Gov. O’Malley discussed the long-term benefits of wind power to consumers.

“Over the long-term it reduces costs to consumers if we assume the costs of fossil fuels continue to go up as it has since the beginning of time,” he said.

This bill will be heard in the Senate on March 15.

If the bill passes, the wind turbines would take at least five years to develop.

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