O’Malley Introduces Amendments To Offshore Wind Bill

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Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., has introduced new amendments to the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2011 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 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 25 years.

For residential ratepayers, the PSC currently directs the utilities to procure approximately 25% of their power at a time, in two-year contracts, making ratepayers vulnerable to periodic increases in the market price of energy.

Another amendment related to price would require the developer of the project to pass along any savings from federal tax incentives to 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- and women-owned businesses as well as small businesses in the development and distribution of offshore wind energy.

Offshore wind could create more than 20 direct jobs per annual megawatt, including jobs in manufacturing, engineering and skilled labor, according to O'Malley. A 500 MW wind generation facility in the waters off of the Delmarva coast could generate as many as 2,000 manufacturing and construction jobs during the five-year development period, with an additional 400 permanent jobs once the turbines are spinning.

SOURCE: Office of Gov. Martin O'Malley

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