By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland moves forward on plans for an offshore wind farm. Friday, lawmakers learned from the Maryland Energy Administration just how close the state is to turning on the turbines.

Pat Warren reports some are raising questions about the cost.

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Energy makes its way into the governor’s State of the State address.

“We have added more renewable energy to the grid than any time since we’ve built the Conowingo Dam 85 years ago,” Governor Martin O’Malley said.

And more’s coming.

“Probably by 2018 we’re hopeful they will be up and spinning. The turbines will be up and spinning,” said Abigail Hopper, Md. Energy Administration.

And so will your electric bill. This week’s blowing snow and sideways smoke are enough to verify that the wind blows here year round.

Harnessing that wind off the coast of Ocean City is a government initiative signed into law last year and moving faster than originally projected.

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“The businesses are really understanding that there is opportunity here,” Hopper said.

An offshore survey to map the sea floor this summer found suitable acreage for the wind farm and the federal leasing process is underway.

Testimony before a House committee included reports on how the state is progressing toward bids for a private operator, while some of the cost will fall on Maryland utility customers.

The Maryland Energy Administration says nine companies have expressed interest in Maryland’s offshore wind farm.

Customers won’t begin paying the wind power subsidy until the wind farm is operating.

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