The bill would create a mechanism to incentivize the development of a 200 MW offshore wind facility and establish a regulatory framework that would allow additional projects to interconnect to the grid in Maryland.
‘Offshore wind would support 850 jobs during the construction period,’ he noted in his testimony. "It would allow us to create 160 permanent, good, local jobs once the turbines start spinning. And if we succeed in establishing Maryland as the regional manufacturing hub for wind turbines, we will create and sustain even more good jobs."
O'Malley also stressed that if passed, the legislation would have a minimal effect on ratepayers.
"This bill has very specific consumer protections built in," he said. "No consumer will pay even a penny more on their energy bill until the turbines start spinning. The most optimistic estimate projects this at four years away. Once the wind farm is built, you have drawn a very narrow strike zone, which holds down projected increases to – at most – $1.50 per month for the average household."
This is the governor's third attempt at passing offshore wind legislation. Although last year's version of the legislation passed the state's House of Delegates, it failed to make it out of the Maryland State Assembly, which claimed the bill would negatively affect ratepayers. That version of the legislation attempted to rectify similar concerns raised about the 2011 iteration of the bill, to no avail.