Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., appeared before the House of Delegates' Economic Matters Committee to testify in support of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2011, which will require that public utilities leverage Maryland's offshore wind resources by entering into long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind power generation facilities off of the Mid-Atlantic coast.
‘In this competitive new economy, the states that win will be those that succeed in leveraging innovation into job creation and economic growth,’ O'Malley said. ‘In Maryland, our emerging green sector is a critically important part of our Innovation Economy, and therefore our ability to create jobs and compete globally. This bill would move us forward toward a prosperous, thriving Maryland powered by sustainable, clean energy.’
The bill seeks to diversify the terms by which energy is purchased in Maryland by requiring long-term PPAs with offshore wind generation facilities, which would be located more than 10 miles from Maryland's Atlantic coast.
These purchase agreements allow Maryland to lock in rates over the long term, providing price stability and predictability in what is otherwise a potentially volatile commodity market, according to the governor.
The bill would require that public utilities purchase between 400 MW to 600 MW of power from offshore wind generation facilities in federal waters adjacent to the PJM Control Area for a period of at least 20 years.
However, members of the House Economic Matters Committee were apprehensive and concerned about apparent discrepancies in projected costs to ratepayers, the Washington Post reports. Two Democrats suggested that they might need more time than the remaining six weeks in the legislative session in order to properly assess the proposal.