Reporting Pat Warren
OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ)— Setting sail for wind power.
Pat Warren reports an exploration is underway off the coast of Ocean City to scout out a location for a proposed wind farm.
There’s one thing Maryland gets plenty of.
“Wind is one of Maryland’s two most abundant natural resources,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The other one being the sun.”
Maryland’s first-of-its-kind wind farm 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,” O’Malley promised when the General Assembly passed the bill.
An offshore survey is now underway aboard the 130-foot Scarlett Isabella 10 miles off the coast of Ocean City.
“We’re going to be collecting five different types of hydrographic and geophysical marine data collection systems,” Beau Suthard—Coastal Planning and Engineering, a CB&I company—told WJZ in a telephone interview from the vessel.
The mission is to map water depth, create an image of the seafloor looking for habitat, explore the geology and look for things to avoid, like shipwrecks and hazards to potential construction and to determine if there’s evidence of an ancient shoreline where a Paleo-Indian community might have lived.
“This work will be critical to whichever developer develops off of Maryland’s coast, so by the state doing it now, we’re moving this forward,” said Abigail Hopper, Maryland Energy Administration.
The exploration will take 30 to 40 days at a cost of $3.3 million.
The Obama administration has announced the first lease sale next month for projects off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Governor O’Malley has said not to expect the wind farm to start operating for at least four years, at which time Marylanders will start paying for it with a surcharge on their utility bills.