Poll: Marylanders May Be Willing To Pay More For Wind Power

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Governor Martin O’Malley promotes wind power despite the potential cost increase to Maryland consumers.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what voters think of the idea.

According to a recent poll, a majority of Marylanders are willing to invest in a new source of energy.

It’s no surprise the American Wind Association is holding its Offshore Wind Power conference in Baltimore. Building a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City was an O’Malley administration priority this year.

“I’d like us to pass the bill,” he said.

But the General Assembly chose to study it instead. The governor will try again next year, this time backed by a poll that suggests Marylanders would be willing to pay more for wind power…to a point.

“They’re saying, `Look, we’re willing to make this upfront investment for all of the many benefits that come from offshore windpower,'” said Tommy Landers, Environment Maryland.

Voters answered this statement: “I would be willing to pay $2 more per month on my electric bill if my electricity came from clean, local offshore wind farms.” Sixty-two percent said yes and 34 percent said no.

“I think in an era of austerity and tightening of belts all around, it’s a pretty affirmative statement that the people of our state understand the connection between jobs, understand the connections to the environment and understand the connection that that sort of choice makes for that cleaner, renewable energy future that’s both more secure and also contributes to greater American prosperity,” O’Malley said.

Still, it’s hard to nail down just what the cost to consumers would be in the long run, which is what made the idea such a hard sell this season.

Governor O’Malley says the bill for the next session is still a work in progress.

The federal government has designated 207 square miles off the Maryland coast for wind farm development.

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