Friday, June 11–Md. Partners On Wind Energy

OCEAN
CITY – Perhaps prompted by the ongoing Gulf oil spill disaster, Maryland this
week officially joined a multi-state partnership aimed at accelerating the
development of renewable, sustainable offshore wind energy in the mid-Atlantic,
a move that could expedite plans for wind turbines off Ocean City.

On
Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the state’s formal partnership
in the newly formed Atlantic Offshore Wind Consortium, a group comprised of
several states along the Atlantic coast along with the U.S. Department of the
Interior. The intent of the consortium is to coordinate a regional partnership
to develop offshore wind energy off the Atlantic Coast.

Currently,
individual states are proceeding on their own with public-private partnerships
to develop offshore wind energy resources. For example, neighboring Delaware
has an approved plan to develop wind turbines off its coast and the same
private company is seeking similar approvals for as many as 200 wind turbines
far off the coast of Ocean City.

Other
states along the mid-Atlantic are also pursuing the development of offshore
wind energy, but the effort thus far has been fairly piecemeal. The
establishment of the Atlantic Offshore Wind Consortium, which Maryland formally
joined this week, should allow for a more regional approach to developing the
alternative energy.

Offshore
wind energy development appears to be a sensible alternative to plans to drill
for oil and natural gas off the mid-Atlantic coast, especially in the wake of
the ongoing disaster in the Gulf. In addition, O’Malley said this week the
development of offshore wind energy opportunities in Maryland and the other
participating states should help stabilize energy prices in the state and
create jobs.

“Offshore
wind energy offers vast potential to create jobs for our workers and to help
stabilize utility costs for our families while increasing grid stability,” he
said. “As we continue to make strides towards our renewable portfolio standard
of 20 percent clean energy on the grid by 2022, offshore wind remains one of
the most critical components to achieving this goal.”

A
recent Department of Energy report estimates achieving 20 percent of the
nation’s energy from wind energy is an achievable goal in the decades to come,
making the establishment of the consortium an essential next step in the
process, according to Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) director Malcolm
Wolf.

“Offshore
wind has the potential to supply more renewable energy than any other resource
in the region, possibly the entire east coast,” he said.

 

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