- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Wind of change gives late boost to O’Malley energy measure
ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Martin O'Malley’s offshore wind energy bill received a late gust of support Monday that indicates lawmakers may be serious about pushing the measure into law during the session’s final two weeks.
The legislation would set up a regulatory framework for the new technology, allowing wind firms to build turbines off the Eastern Shore and sell renewable-energy credits to in-state energy companies in an effort to increase the state’s renewable-energy portfolio.
Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, is taking his second shot at wind energy after a similar bill failed last year because of bipartisan concerns over the likelihood that its implementation would drive up energy prices.
The governor’s bill this year would cap potential rate increases at $2 a month for the average residential customer and 2.5 percent for businesses but has sat in House and Senate committees for much of the session over lingering cost concerns.
The Economic Matters Committee added a slew of amendments to the bill Monday, including lowering the rate-increase caps to $1.50 a month and 1.5 percent in a move that supporters hope will win over lawmakers.
“This bill means we are going to lock in clean wind energy and the jobs that come with it,” said Delegate Tom Hucker, Montgomery Democrat and bill co-sponsor. “It’s been moderated so it’s a bill that a majority of us can get behind.”
Supporters of offshore wind have predicted the technology could reduce dependence on nonrenewable energy, create jobs and bring millions of dollars to Maryland. They have argued the state must act quickly to avoid losing business to other East Coast states.
Proponents also acknowledge that wind energy will likely come at a greater cost than traditional sources such as coal or natural gas but argue prices will eventually come in line once wind farms are up and running.
Opponents have questioned the current market for viable wind developers - pointing to slow progress in other states and the financial problems that led to the failure last year of a planned Delaware wind project - and argue that prices are near impossible to predict.
Delegate Steven R. Schuh, Anne Arundel Republican, said state analysts have projected that conventional energy prices would have to increase by 6 percent over the next 20 years to bring them in line with wind costs, but only rose by about 2.5 percent over the past 20 years.
Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Talbot Republican, said that while wind farms could potentially bring benefits to the state, the risks are too great on constituents she represents on the Eastern Shore.
“We are going to be the ones who have the transmission lines in our backyard,” she said. “We are going to have the most at stake and we’ll have the least to gain.”
While the House is expected to begin debate Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee is still considering its version of the bill.
Committee Chairman Thomas M. Middleton, Charles Democrat, said the committee’s members are closely divided on the issue and likely won’t vote unless the legislation first passes the House.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow