Today, Maryland became a leader in offshore wind energy when the state Senate voted in favor of a bill that is expected to jumpstart the industry and create long-term manufacturing and maritime jobs through the use of offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs). The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, which passed in the state’s House of Delegates in late-February, will help spur the development of at least 200 megawatts of offshore wind energy off Maryland’s coast – enough to power 200,000 homes – by requiring utilities in the state to provide their customers with a specific amount of power generated from offshore wind.
The success of this bill is due in large part to the leadership of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller, Jr., and House Speaker Michael E. Busch. Environmental, faith, business and other community groups that recognize the benefits of offshore wind teamed up to form Marylanders for Offshore Wind Power, the coalition that worked to make this bill a law. The coalition includes Oceana, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, National Wildlife Federation, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Maryland Sierra Club and Environment Maryland.
Oceana applauded the passage of the legislation and released the following statement from deputy vice president for U.S. campaigns Jacqueline Savitz:
“Developing offshore wind power in the U.S. is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. This bill shows that Maryland understands the importance of transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards a clean energy economy.
Offshore wind is a clean and abundant energy source that has remained untapped in the U.S., putting us at a competitive disadvantage with other countries. Actions like the one Maryland is taking here will foster the continued growth of the offshore wind industry in the U.S., which will in turn ignite our manufacturing sector, boost our economy, make us more energy independent and help to combat global climate change.
Offshore wind development in Maryland will help to stimulate the state’s economy, while creating long-term jobs for its workforce. Wind is good for their economy, it never spills, and it will help to save our oceans.”
The bill will now go back to the House of Delegates for a final vote on the Senate’s amendments before it can be signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley.