Reporting Alex DeMetrick
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A bill greenlighting offshore wind power is headed for the governor’s desk. After years of trying, supporters found the votes in the state legislature Monday night.
Alex DeMetrick has more on what happens next.
Wind can blow in bad weather in Ocean City, but 30 miles offshore, it has the potential of generating clean energy.
“We actually import more energy than we export and we definitely need to build our own home-grown energy here in Maryland,” said Jen Broack-Cancellieri, League of Conservation Voters.
For years, groups like the Maryland League of Conservation Voters have been pushing for offshore wind, the kind that’s been used in Europe and has now been approved by the state legislature.
“Seventy-two percent of Marylanders support bringing offshore power to Maryland and this is a huge step forward,” she said.
The bill authorized a $1.7 billion subsidy over 20 years to developers of an offshore windfarm. That money would come from an extra $1.50 per month paid by all residential electric customers. Offshore wind must then provide 2.5 percent of Maryland’s electricity.
“This is the dumbest idea ever,” said Republican Senator E.J. Pipkin.
Despite opponents’ claims it costs more than it’s worth, momentum blew the other way.
Before wind on the water ever turns a turbine, the federal government must first sign off on an offshore lease. Once that happens…
“Over 750 Marylanders would be hired as part of the initial construction and over 1,000 businesses across Maryland believe they have one of the 8,000 components to those offshore wind turbines,” Broack-Cancellieri said.
It’s not clear how many wind turbines would go up offshore. That number would develop during the planning stages.