Chesapeake Life Magazine
Offshore wind power could supply up to one third of the Mid-Atlantic's electricity load with zero emissions, creating thousands of jobs while locking in stable rates. If Maryland does not develop offshore wind power, we will be sending our renewable dollars out-of-state to satisfy our renewable portfolio standard of 20 percent clean electricity by 2022.
Maryland can begin tapping the tremendous energy of the wind blowing off our Atlantic coast by adopting policies to incentivize construction of offshore wind farms. As with any large power plant, a wind farm requires significant up-front capital, and developers need "revenue certainty" for their project in order to obtain financing. Most of our energy decisions today are made with an emphasis on a short- term outlook and limited priorities. This kind of thinking has led to choosing heavily subsidized and dirty fossil fuels. In fact, Maryland currently gets over half its electricity from dirty coal plants. When we look at the cost over a long-term period- and when our priorities include price stability, new jobs, and environmental and public health benefits - offshore wind power is a clear choice for Maryland.
The 2013 offshore wind bill will establish a "carve-out" for offshore wind energy in the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Maryland already has a solar carve-out in the RPS, which created solar renewable energy credits or SRECs. Similarly, the offshore carve-out would create offshore wind renewable energy credits or ORECs. Maryland's electricity suppliers would be required to accumulate a certain amount of ORECs over time. The state's Public Service Commission will oversee a process by which offshore wind developers will compete to provide ORECs. The winning bids will be determined by a set of legislated criteria including lowest price, long-term price stability, environmental and public health benefits, in-state jobs, and other factors.
This legislation will:
For more information, please contact:
Tom Carlson, Chesapeake Climate Action Network /