Senate Passes Wind Energy Bill 30-15

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Environmental activists are praising the General Assembly for passing Governor O’Malley’s wind energy bill.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains the Senate followed the House in approving the bill Friday.

In January, Governor O’Malley predicted a win on wind.

“The odds are if you work hard and you go out there and leave it all on the field, some great things can happen,” he said.

He was applying that to the Ravens at the time, but it applies to the  bill that took three years to get through the General Assembly. Despite some objections, wind generated energy is blowing Maryland’s way.

“What I said to the governor and what I will say to you this morning, this is the dumbest idea ever,” said Sen. E.J. Pipkin.

Opposition to the proposal from Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin failed to sway lawmakers. The vote Friday puts Maryland on track for a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City that will eventually cost utility ratepayers an estimated $1.50 a month.

“Nothing goes up until the windmills go up,” the governor said.

But when those hikes do take effect, Marylanders may be paying that $1.50 at a total cost, says Pipkin, of $1.37 billion.

“Make sure we don’t talk about what the real cost of the car is, talk about the monthly payment. Same thing’s been happening to wind,” said Pipkin.

But supporters are convinced the benefits of renewable wind energy far outweigh the cost.

There were some minor friendly amendments to the bill the House is suspected to concur to. Governor O’Malley will sign it and it takes effect June 1.

The Public Service Commission will have a year to develop regulations for offshore wind.

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