March 25, 2011

Governor O’Malley Outlines Amendments To Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act

Governor O’Malley announced at yesterday’s event the introduction of new amendments that will limit the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) ability to approve projects to only those projects with pricing impacts on Maryland families of less than $2 per month.

The O’Malley-Brown Administration and the PSC have each, independently estimated the potential price impact to be even lower than that.

The bill will require that public utilities leverage Maryland’s outstanding offshore wind resources by entering into long-term purchase agreements with wind power generation facilities off of the Mid-Atlantic coast. The Governor underscored the importance of offshore wind in leveraging Maryland’s natural assets to promote ‘green’ job creation and generate much needed clean, renewable energy.

“Thanks to the tough choices we’ve made over the last four years, Maryland has emerged as one of the leaders in the effort to harness the power of offshore wind – an industry with the potential to create thousands of jobs and power hundreds of thousands of homes,” said Governor O’Malley. “By requiring the utilities to enter into long-term agreements, we can finally shift our focus from short term profit to our state’s long-term energy security, and put these steelworkers back to work building the energy infrastructure of the future.”

Today the O’Malley-Brown Administration is proposing several amendments to the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act. Most importantly, the Governor has proposed a threshold test in which the PSC would kick out any proposals that are projected to raise an average family’s electricity bill by more than $2 per month in the first year.

It is anticipated that the impact will decrease after that first year, as fossil fuel prices continue to rise. Another important amendment related to price would require the developer of the project to pass along any savings from federal tax incentives to our ratepayers.

The Governor has also proposed amendments that would require the PSC to consider, as a criterion of choosing the project, a developer’s plan to include minority, women-owned, and small businesses in the development and distribution of offshore wind energy.

Offshore wind could create more than twenty direct jobs per annual megawatt, including jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and skilled labor. SOURCE: Gov Monitor

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