The Dernogalizer

September 30, 2010

Offshore Wind and Maryland

Filed under: Energy/Climate,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 5:24 pm
Tags: , ,

I’m real excited about the possibility of and offshore wind project happening in Maryland, now that Cape Wind is a go in Massachusetts.  A number of state environmental groups organzied a town hall in Ocean City last week about the offshore wind proposal on the table, and the steps the Maryland government is taking to moving the ball forward.  Below is a cross-post from CCAN’s Tom about the event and the potential for offshore wind.

With extreme weather events, tragic disasters from the extraction of fossil fuels, and beautiful coral reefs losing their color due to extreme heat, there is no doubt that we must transition now to clean energy like offshore wind!

Last Thursday was a prime example of how Maryland is poised to continue leading on clean energy and climate solutions by pursuing offshore wind power.

On the evening of September 23rd, close to 100 citizens gathered for a town hall meeting in Ocean City to learn more about the amazing benefits offshore wind will bring Marylanders.

Citizens got to hear from three experts about how this resource could work for Maryland and to have their questions answered.  The vibe of the meeting was very positive with many citizens voicing their support for offshore wind and signing petitions asking Maryland candidates to support offshore wind legislation in 2011.

This was an historic meeting in our effort to ensure Maryland continues to lead and continues to show that clean energy solutions work in more ways than one.  Maryland has passed superb climate and clean energy legislation, including the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, and a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).  Building a major offshore wind park off the coast of Maryland will be critical for us to meet our goals, including 20% renewable energy by 2022.

Having grown up attending Maryland public schools, I like to think that Maryland is a smart state and this was evident in the presentations from Maryland government representatives at the meeting last Thursday.

Offshore wind power is smart for Maryland simply because offshore wind means reliability.  Offshore wind will bring us “four R’s for reliability”: reliable jobs, reliable prices, a reliable supply, and a reliable climate.

Catherine McCall of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) shared a detailed presentation about how the DNR is working very closely with Eastern Shore residents to make sure offshore windmills fit in with all the other uses of our ocean.  This includes sharing the ocean with marine life, birds, shipping, fishing and taking into account visibility considerations.  More information about this can be found on DNR’s website.

Next, Andrew Gohn of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) gave a presentation about the value of offshore wind power to our energy system.  Just as Delaware found that offshore wind was their answer for reliable energy prices and reliable energy, we’ll reach the same conclusion here in Maryland.  We could ultimately get a third of our power from this amazing resource while we lock in stable energy prices as unlike fossil fuels, wind fuel is free!

I had the pleasure of introducing our three speakers and there was a chuckle in the audience when I introduced our third speaker, Dave Blazer of NRG Bluewater Wind, as another “smart fellow.”  A local to Ocean City, many of the attendees know Dave well and were humored by this introduction.  Yet Dave showed he deserved such a description as he gave a very detailed presentation about his company’s proposal to build a 600 MW wind park about 12 miles offshore from Ocean City.  This one park alone could create thousands of reliable jobs for construction, operations, and maintenance.

Our town hall meeting that CCAN organized along with Environment Maryland,Sierra Club Maryland, and MD LCV Education Fund was a great start to this campaign in Maryland.

Please join the many in Ocean City who signed petitions in support of offshore wind for Maryland and stay in touch as many volunteer opportunities are on the horizon!

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