The Dernogalizer

November 11, 2010

MD Offshore Wind now at Request for Interest Stage

Filed under: Energy/Climate,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:54 am
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See the exciting press release below, and check out the MD Department of Natural Resources website about the entire stakeholder process to this point.

ANNAPOLIS, MD (November 8, 2010) –Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland Energy Administration today joined the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in announcing a significant step forward in bringing offshore wind power generation to Maryland’s coast. The federal government, which controls the Outer Continental Shelf, has accepted the planning recommendations of the Maryland Offshore Wind Task Force and today issued both a Request for Interest (RFI) and a map of an offshore wind leasing area in federal waters adjacent to Maryland’s Atlantic Coast.  Today’s announcement makes Maryland only the second state in the nation to reach this point in the process.

“Today’s announcement marks another step forward for Maryland’s new economy,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “By harnessing the outstanding wind resources off of Maryland’s coast, we can create thousands of green collar jobs, reduce harmful air pollution, and bring much needed, additional clean energy to Maryland.” (more…)

November 3, 2010

One Big Win Last Night

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 11:29 am
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It’s no secret that the results last night were pretty disastrous for Democrats, particularly in the House.  However, of the bright spots, the best in my opinion is the resounding defeat of Prop 23 in California.  California is one of the 10 largest economies in the world, and its climate law will be carried out thanks to the defeat of Prop 23.  With 93% of precincts reporting in California, Prop 23 has gone down with 61.4% of voters rejecting it, and 38.6% supporting, an impressive margin of victory for environmentalists and clean tech companies in California which opposed it.




November 1, 2010

My Op-Ed: Wind energy: A matter of priorities

Filed under: Dernoga,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 11:21 am
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I have a column out today in the Diamondback about what needs to be done for Maryland to get offshore wind turbines off its coast.  Enjoy!

Wind energy: A matter of priorities

By Matt Dernoga

There’s a growing buzz in the state over the enormous potential for offshore wind development off our coast. In early October, Gov. Martin O’Malley  held a rally with the United Steelworkers to tout the 4,000 manufacturing jobs and 800 permanent jobs that could be created from a 1,000 megawatt wind farm off our coasts. Google recently joined a partnership to build a $5 billion network of transmission lines along the East Coast. In 10 years, this system will allow mid-Atlantic states to share wind energy when one area of the coast is windy and the other isn’t.

Environmental groups have held town hall meetings around the state with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Energy Administration to inform citizens about offshore wind. At one I attended, they were been joined by NRG Bluewater Wind, a wind energy developer poised to build a 200 megawatt wind farm off the coast of Delaware. Many questions and concerns about offshore wind were answered.

How much wind potential exists off our coast? Enough to meet 67 percent of the state’s electricity needs. What’s the cost? Although offshore wind is a little more expensive than prices in the current state market, you’re locked in to paying for it at the same rate for 25 years because the wind isn’t getting more expensive. Given the volatility of our electricity prices in recent years, this should be a welcome development and will most likely save money in the end. What about birds, fish and the view? The state government has partnered with conservation groups such as the Nature Conservancy and fishermen to map out the ocean and rule out areas that are sensitive to migratory birds and watermen. The areas that are being considered happen to be more than 10 miles off the coast.

The state is sorely lacking one thing: a firm commitment from government to be not just a partner with the offshore wind developers but also a customer. A reason Delaware is ahead of Maryland on offshore wind is because it approved a 200 megawatt Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Delmarva Power and NRG Bluewater Wind. Wind energy companies need a guaranteed buyer in line before they are willing to risk a major upfront investment into energy infrastructure. Otherwise it’s like buying a house and taking on a mortgage when you don’t have a job.

O’Malley knows this. In July, he co-authored a letter with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell to President Barack Obama asking for the federal government to enter into a PPA for 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind. The letter said this state has already committed to 55 megawatts, alongside Delaware’s 200. What O’Malley glossed over is that the PPA in this state is actually with this university and NRG Bluewater Wind, and it’s for the Delaware project! What a small world in a big ocean.

There are a lot of state government buildings in Annapolis. If we are asking the federal government to commit its buildings to a PPA, why can’t we do it here? We need a significant enough draw for a developer such as NRG Bluewater Wind, which is interested in building a 600 megawatt wind farm off the state’s coast. If the state wants to be on the forefront of the emerging clean energy economy, a PPA for offshore wind needs to be a priority for the newly elected governor and legislature in 2011.

Matt Dernoga is a graduate student in public policy. He can be reached at dernoga at umdbk dot com


October 15, 2010

First MD Wind Farm to Begin Operating

Filed under: Energy/Climate,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 11:20 am
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Photo from

Who says we can’t do onshore wind in Maryland?   Check out this article by the Cumberland Times-News.  Notable excerpts below

“Maryland’s first-ever commercial wind farm is set to begin partial operations in less than one week, according to developer Constellation Energy.  In recent months a total of 28 bright white wind turbines, stretching 415 feet into the air from base to vertical blade tip, sprung up along eight miles of Backbone Mountain in Garrett County.”

“At its peak in mid-summer the project employed about 200 individuals, Wagner said. But that number has declined, and will continue to drop off as the project nears commissioning.
When it becomes operational, the facility will have nine full-time employees permanently assigned to the site, including Shilobod.  They will work out of a headquarters building now being constructed beside the electrical substation along Eagle Rock Road.”

“Wagner acknowledged that Constellation had anticipated a high level of statewide interest in and scrutiny of the project, because it was effectively blazing a new trail in Maryland energy production.

“From the very beginning we were aware that we were going to be looked at, as the first facility of its kind in the state,” he said.”

September 30, 2010

Offshore Wind and Maryland

Filed under: Energy/Climate,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 5:24 pm
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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. (more…)

September 29, 2010

Fight Prop 23 in California, Ads in Full Swing

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 6:16 pm
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A new poll shows there’s a dead heat on Prop 23, a referendum on whether or not to block California’s climate legislation, one of the most ambitious in the nation.  Want to help?

  1. Visit the “No on 23″ website, learn the facts & sign up:
  2. Educate yourself on how California’s climate & energy laws have created companies & jobs:
  3. Tell your friends by email, on Facebook, at work, & everywhere else.
  4. Participate in the debate. Write letters to the editor and post comments on blogs & websites.
  5. Contribute (click here). The other side’s leader, right-wing California Assemblyman Dan Logue, has publicly said he expects the oil companies to spend $50 million.

Here’s a misleading one by the big oil companies, see the website listed above for debunking

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