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Public Comments Sought on Offshore Wind Proposal

Maryland may jump into the lead among states developing offshore wind energy. (
Maryland may jump into the lead among states developing offshore wind energy. (
November 29, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland Public Service Commission has started the 180-day proceeding to evaluate offshore wind project proposals, and local residents are invited to chime in.

Companies that want to be considered needed to offer Marylanders long-term price stability, and environmental and public health benefits. They also need to show they'll create in-state jobs, and a plan to reduce transmission congestion costs.

Jennifer Mihills, associate director and regional representative of the National Wildlife Federation's Mid-Atlantic Regional Center, said two companies were selected. When one of the projects is approved, construction could begin as soon as 2019, and wind turbines could be spinning off the Atlantic coast in 2020.

"Maryland could be the first state to have a large-scale wind farm in operation, but there are many states right behind us," she said. "So, I think we are really moving forward in a new direction with having clean, renewable energy off of our Atlantic Coast."

According to a report by Synapse Energy Economics, a 200-megawatt offshore wind farm in Maryland would result in $75 million in economic benefits, and would even reduce premature deaths in the region by lowering fossil-fuel use and its sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Milhills predicts offshore wind energy will help protect people and wildlife, as it helps Maryland do its part to address climate change.

"We really need to not only transition to clean, renewable energy, like offshore wind, but ramp up the speed at which we are making that transition, so that we can do our best to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change," she explained.

She said passage of the 2013 Maryland Offshore Energy Wind Act created a framework for Maryland to start using offshore wind as an energy source. She said it also helped ensure that Maryland's small and minority-owned businesses will be ready to participate in the offshore wind supply chain.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD