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March 23, 2011

O'Malley's wind energy plan could become a study

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee offered up the classic Annapolis solution to the politically tricky off-shore wind legislation that Gov. Martin O'Malley is pushing this year: Transform it into a study.

Sen. Thomas M. Middleton said Monday that the proposal to build a wind farm off Ocean City is still encountering stiff resistance in his committee, despite a flurry of one-on-one meetings with the governor and key Senate and House members.

"Some people believe there should be a study," said Middleton, who said he hopes that issues can be resolved. But time is running out: The general assembly session ends in less than three weeks.

To build momentum for the bill, O'Malley is set to hold a news conference at City Dock in Annapolis today. He'll stress the the 2,000 jobs he believes it would generate.

Joe Bryce, O'Malley's top lobbyist, said Tuesday that Maryland is "in a race" with other states that are angling to host off-shore farms and therefore can ill afford to delay action for a year.

The bill is one of several key pieces of the governor's legislative agenda to face tough scrutiny from lawmakers. O'Malley's plan to limit septic systems at new developments has been stopped up in the House and a proposal to create a $100 million investment capital fund hasn't reached the floor of either chamber.


The wind legislation would direct the state's utilities to enter 25-year contracts with energy firms to build a wind farm in the Atlantic Ocean. The cost could exceed $1 billion and would be borne by the state's ratepayers.

The governor has stressed that the charge to ratepayers would be negligible: The administration estimates it would be $1.44 a month, but other estimates are higher.

But Middleton said the bulk of the opposition is centered on the costs to ratepayers. After facing tough elections and angry votes last November, many senators and delegates are particularly sensitive to pocketbook issues.

House Speaker Micheal E. Busch did not sound as rushed. "It is a distance run, not a sprint," he said. Complicated legislation, like the wind bill, can benefit from "thorough dissection," he said.

"Sometimes it takes more than one session," Busch said.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 5:00 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: 2011 legislative session


I think the General Assembly is finally exercising some common sense by studying the offshore wind power proposal. This state is projected to face billions of dollars in debts over the next few years, I don't see how the state can afford this project. If wind power is so wonderful, why isen't private industry jumping on it?

This would be a bad move for the environment and for the economy. The disruption in the environment in addition to the polluted sunrises is one thing. It's another with the casual fact that politicians love to ignore - Wind power has a 75 year pay-back period. Let's say that again: "WIND POWER HAS A 75 YEAR PAY-BACK PERIOD. Again, shortsighted in the long-run... but MOM/Dems think it's cool. Meanwhile, how many more people will freeze in the winters or die from stifling heat in the summers because they cannot afford the electricity?Sorry - didn't want to mire anyone with details. BTW, solar energy has a pay-back period of 6-8 years and expectancy of 25 year useful life. THAT is the starting point.

Just say no. A study is a waste of time and money. There is plenty of information already compiled from the other wind farms that exist, all you have to do is read the informaion.

Secondly, the cost verse the benefits are out of proportion. A wind turbine needs 30 mph sustained wind to perform to its maximum output. At peak a 2.5 Gwatt Turbine produces enough power for 500 homes if all appliances and hotwater are offloaded to an alternate power source. So how many turbines would it take to produce enough power to impact MD residences? Alot.

Before the taxpayers allow one dollar to be spent let the Gov't produce the actual numbers that are currently being generated by the wind farms that already exist and let's see what the real cost / benefits are.

A study is not needed. Just the truth for a change. Sorry, I forgot we were talking about Stats O'Malley, who never met a statistic he couldn't massage.

Please do the homework first!!! While this all sounds good, it really may be more harmful. I suggest starting with this article about the wind farms in the UK.

Just cancel the whole ridiculous project. O'Malley is pushing this so one of his cronys will make a ton of money.

Wind power can only supplement fossil fuels. They will NEVER be a primary energy source. OweMalley cannot force BGE to supplement their power grid and is overextending the powers of government. A court battle looms. If BGE is forced to do this they will pass on these added infrastructure and operating costs to the rate-payer. OweMalley will pride himself as “saving the environment” while-at the same time-we ALL experience higher BGE rates. This feel-good Liberal Save-the-Planet scam is getting old…..and expensive. As always, expect the Liberal OweMalley and Md Press to demonize BGE and make them look like the bad guys and somehow blame the high rates on the past Ehrlich administration..

Not only is wind power enormously expensive to install, the maintenance costs in an ocean environment are huge and continuous. This is a very lame idea economically, environmentally, and aesthetically, and the state's utilities shouldn't be arbitrarily directed to invest in an inefficient losing proposition such as this. Oh, and of course, we ratepayers will foot the bill, probably boosted by an additional state tax on the increased rates. I think all the study the legislature needs is right here in these comments.

To "A Concerned Tax Payer"...THANK YOU for the link. Anyone who believes that Wind Power is an adequate and reliable energy source should read this news out of the UK. This technology has been around for years and the Brits have plenty of real facts to share.

The tax breaks that the developers will get from the feds and the states are not reflected in the contracts mandated by the present bills, but they will come out of the taxpayers pocket. The $1.44 per month is not the whole cost.The concealed costs of the offshore wind installations need to be exposed by further study. One is going on right now by a branch of the Dept. of Natural Resources; its results will be released before the next session of the General Assembly.

Omaaley and his croonies own a major stock in the company that would build and install. them. This is a complete conflict of intrest. Why is the private sector not willing to pay for it. Becuase true studies show it is not cost effective. One big storm would wipe out billions of dollars invested. and the tacx payers would be stuck paying for it.

A study on how to saddle the rate payers with unneeded higher costs every month for a few decades.

Subsidizing anything does not work. Subsidizing wind power will make electricity more expensive. O'Malley will look good and we will all pay for it. It will be a feather to put in his cap when he runs for higher office.

You have got some explaining to do Marty!

@TGC3RD The article you posted is a fluff piece. I am not saying it is wrong but it is written without any supporting facts by someone who agrees with your view.

I am for the wind turbines and here are my reasons. To me the view of a sunrise would not be ruined but enhanced in my opinion. It would make me proud to be part of a society which can at least attempt to do something new and innovative to help itself. With current energy costs it may not seem cost effective now to produce energy this way but as we all know from experience the cost of generating energy from fossil fuels is quite dynamic. This is a small (in the grand scheme of things) hedge against rising energy prices. It would also improve local experience in dealing with wind turbines. A specialty which would generate more jobs/contracts for Marylanders. The negatives are that some might not like the view. The cost may never be worth it.

Its my opinion that its better to try and fail than to never try at all.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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