O'Malley offers further compromise on wind
Electricity customers would pay a maximum of $2 extra per month if Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to create an offshore wind farm gains passage this year.
The rate increase limit would extend for the life of the 25-year contract and be indexed to 2011 dollars under administration's latest compromise, aimed at allaying legislators' concerns about cost. Earlier, O'Malley had pitched a $2 cap in the first year only. Senators have been so nervous about the bill that they floated the idea of a study.
"We've always believed the cost would be lower than $2, which is why the amendment wasn't there in the first place," said Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for O'Malley. "Working with legislators, the original amendment was to provide some certainty where legislators said it didn't exist."
The new amendment, Adamec said, "is an extension of that certainty. We believe costs will go down after the first year."
Some lawmakers have said the cost of offshore wind is likely to be far higher than the administration believes.
Economic Matters Chairman Dereck E. Davis said the extended $2 increase limit "certainly is helpful."
Davis, a Prince George's County Democrat, said his committee would continue working on the bill all week and could vote on it as soon as early next week.
Asked whether there are enough votes on his committee to move the bill to the floor, Davis said, "more members are growing comfortable with the idea."
The legislation also is being considered by the Senate Finance Committee.
Business columnist Jay Hancock has a discussion about the wind proposal over on his blog.