Maryland wind energy bill passes Senate

March 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Photo of a Dutch offshore wind farm

The Maryland Senate passed a bill on Friday that would allow wind turbines to be built off the coast of Maryland. 

Gary Haber
Staff Reporter- Baltimore Business Journal

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The creation of a massive complex of wind turbines off the Maryland coast became a virtual certainty Friday when the Maryland state Senate passed an offshore wind bill pushed by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The Senate approved O’Malley’s Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, Senate Bill 275, by a margin of 30-15. Passage in the Senate comes after the House of Delegates approved the House bill, HB 226, by an 86 to 48 margin on Feb. 13. O’Malley has made passage of an offshore wind bill a centerpiece of his legislative agenda. The offshore wind would create a new source of alternative energy.

The bill heads back to the House to reconcile some minor differences in the two bills and will then head to O’Malley for his signature. Friday’s vote in the Senate represents a victory for O’Malley, who saw the bill die in the Senate Finance committee during the 2012 General Assembly session after it passed the House last year.

The bill would make Maryland the first state in the mid-Atlantic to have an offshore wind farm after similar efforts in Delaware stalled. Observers say it would also burnish O’Malley’s environmental credentials as the two-term governor preps for what many believe will be a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

The bill would impose a $1.50 per month surcharge on Maryland utility bills to help subsidize the wind farm.

Environmental groups hailed Friday’s vote as the peak of a nearly three-year-long campaign to bring off-shore wind in the state and provide a clean source of energy and create a new industry that would create thousands of jobs in the state.

Gary Haber covers Banking, Finance, Insurance, Law

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