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O’Malley Testifies On Offshore Wind Energy

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Martin O’Malley takes another crack at getting his signature energy bill passed.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports it appears the biggest obstacle has been moved out of the way.

If there’s one thing Maryland gets plenty of, it’s wind.

“Wind is one of Maryland’s two most abundant natural resources,” O’Malley said. “The other one being the sun.”

Solar power has been a big energy alternative but the Maryland Offshore Wind Coalition is convincing lawmakers there’s no reason to blow off the other.

Senate President Mike Miller told the coalition that he expects the bill to pass this session.

“And it’s because of you showing us the way,” Miller said.

After two years of trying, Governor O’Malley may have the wind at his back instead of stalling in committee. The bill already has enough sponsors to pass.

The first of its kind proposal puts turbines off the coast of Ocean City to generate electricity and adds a surcharge to ratepayers once the wind farm is in operation.

“No consumer will pay even a penny more on their energy bill until such time as these turbines start running. The most optimistic estimate of when that would be is four years away, at best,” O’Malley said.

And that charge is not to exceed $1.50 a month.

Despite objections from the conservative side and the cost to taxpayers, this bill appears to be on a fast track to passage.

While the governor says wind energy will create jobs, a retail group says it will have to cut jobs to offset the higher utility rates.

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