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MD District 6 Legislative Update: Wind Power Bill

The Maryland House of Delegates will hold its final vote on the offshore wind bill Thursday or Friday, according to Del. John Olszewski Jr.

The House of Delegates recently voted on legislation allowing for the development of offshore wind farms. I supported this legislation for several reasons: to provide for stable energy pricing; improved health, climate and national security outcomes; and most importantly for jobs and growing the economy.

Coming as a follow-up to the update I provided last week about workforce training legislation, the EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) Act, the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy legislation is a fitting complement. Officials are quick to say that they support the growth of new jobs, but not everyone votes to support their creation.

Indeed, unlike most products, the supply chain for wind turbines needs to exist close to the source of the projects, in order to keep transportation costs low. Thus, the bill offers a good chance for quality manufacturing jobs in Maryland generally and at Sparrows Point specifically. That means that there is a real chance that our district stands to benefit most directly and meaningfully from an offshore wind program. Estimates are that a moderately sized wind farm would support up to 1500 jobs, in addition to the 1000 Maryland businesses (employing over 30,000 workers) that would have the potential to provide component parts or services to this new, homegrown industry. After losing
85,000 manufacturing jobs since 1990, I will continue to do anything that might support a sustainable manufacturing community in southeast Baltimore County.

While job growth is an important component for supporting the legislation, it is certainly not the only benefit. The turbines, which will help provide stable energy pricing (because once installed, the cost of “fuel” is free) and act as an insurance policy against other forms of energy production, which is much more volatile.

A robust wind program will also improve health outcomes. Burning fossil fuels like coal contributes to air pollution that causes thousands of asthma attacks, lung cancer cases and premature deaths. By transitioning to clean energy sources like offshore wind, Maryland families stand to save nearly $100 million annually in health-related costs. And a moderate size offshore wind farm could power 250,000 electric cars forever, taking meaningful strides in ending our dependence on foreign fuel and improving our national security.

Much has been made of what could be up to $1.50 a month to support these projects. While many feel that the investment is worth the employment, health, and national security improvements alone, the truth is that this cost will be reduced over time as the cost of fossil fuels continues to rise. In fact, because of an amendment I attached to the bill, once the initial term of the wind farm expires, developers would be required to share future profits with ratepayers at a 50/50 split – which could eventually lead to sizable credits, rather than increased costs!

Offshore wind energy has the power to provide local jobs for clean energy while
improving our health, establishing long-term electric price stability, and keeping our air and water clean – all reasons why I supported its passage in the Maryland General Assembly.

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mike a February 21, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Yet another feel good, vote getting boondoggle dumped onto the backs of marylands taxpayers. through direct subsidies and increased electric bills, the citizens of MD will be paying for this long after MO', and the rest of the Annapolis gang has moved on to bigger and brighter things. How much is MD chipping in? Why only 1.7 BILLION, and "only" a few % increase in utility bills. Chump change to the politicos spending other peoples money.
amdactivist February 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM
johnny o is very liberal meaning a spend thrift with our $$. typical omalley follower. Sorry john but true. if your so concerned about job growth why in the heck are you silent on illegals working our jobs while on the system. They claim 1/2 million in md .. we say many more then that. You do know that its a felon to hire them yet you cater to companies that hire them? They pay for campaign signs still? Are you one of many sellout politicians who has no problem breaking the rules for monetary gain? Called corruption isn't it?
amdactivist February 22, 2013 at 11:59 AM
isn't the windmill project through General Electric? The media guru that owns msnbc/nbc/cnn and others that distort truths and plays a big part in getting obama and other sellout politicians in office?
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kevin April 07, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Put this on up site next to gas tax vote.Why John tell the truth,First of all the wind turbine componets are backed up and waiting to be bought and shipped from Florida.The 1500 jobs created have already been promised To Vir/Del to get some place for lines supplying power access.Md was offering running cable UNDER assetegeague.This bill wasn't allowed to honestly be debated because O'Malley put poison Bullets in Exelon deal. There aren't no jobs coming to Baltimore.John this is a case of O'Malley magic .You know ,What your a Marylander ? Poof your money is gone .

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