Bill will boost offshore wind development to generate much needed clean, renewable energy, create new ‘green’ jobs, and promote long-term price stability
ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 3, 2011) – Governor Martin O'Malley today 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 outstanding offshore wind resources by entering into long-term purchase agreements with wind power generation facilities off of the Mid-Atlantic coast. The Governor was joined by the Secretary of Business and Economic Development, Secretary of Natural Resources and the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration, underscoring the bill’s importance in leveraging Maryland’s natural assets to promote ‘green’ job creation and generate much needed clean, renewable energy.
“In this competitive new economy, the states that win will be those that succeed in leveraging innovation into job creation and economic growth,” said Governor O’Malley. “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 towards a prosperous, thriving Maryland powered by sustainable, clean energy.”
An analysis conducted at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US Department of Energy estimates that offshore wind will create more than twenty direct jobs per annual megawatt, including jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and skilled labor. A 500MW 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.
Due to its ideal location in the Mid-Atlantic, as well as the deep-water port and manufacturing infrastructure in Baltimore, Maryland is well positioned to be a leader not only in offshore wind energy generation, but also in ongoing construction and maintenance.
In addition to creating new ‘green’ jobs, harnessing the potential of offshore wind power will generate much needed clean, renewable energy, and promote long-term price stability while helping to ensure that Maryland meets its Renewable Portfolio Standard goal of generating 20% of its energy from renewable resources by 2022.
The bill seeks to diversify the terms by which energy is purchased in Maryland by requiring long-term power-purchase agreements 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.
The bill would require that public utilities purchase between 400-600 megawatts (MW) of power from offshore wind generation facilities in federal waters adjacent to the PJM Control Area for a period of twenty or more years. For residential ratepayer, 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–particularly electricity based on fossil fuel resources. 500 MW of offshore wind energy is enough to power more than half of the homes in the City of Baltimore, or 79% of the homes on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
“Off-shore wind has the potential to be a big “win” for our State: a win for jobs, a win for consumers, a win for business, and a win for our energy future—an energy future which is cleaner, greener, more sustainable, and more affordable,” said Governor O’Malley.
For more information on offshore wind in Maryland, click here to view relevant facts and figures.
For more information, visit the Maryland Energy Administration.