The passage of Maryland's Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 will lead to the construction of at least 200 megawatts of offshore wind energy. The new law, which passed the state's Senate March 8, requires a certain percentage of the state's electricity be supplied by offshore wind energy beginning in 2017.
The exact percentage of energy provided by wind power will be determined each year by the Maryland Public Service Commission, but it cannot exceed 2.5 percent of total retail electricity sales in the state. The bill also said that the purchase of offshore renewable energy credits cannot increase by more than $1.65 per megawatt-hour for industrial electricity customers.
"This bill is to offshore wind power in the Mid-Atlantic what the early railroads were to American transportation," Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, told Energy Collective. "It's a driver of innovation that will create jobs, enhance our economy, improve public health, and protect the climate."
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said it's likely at least 40 turbines generating a total of 200 megawatts of capacity will be installed by 2017 as a result of the new law. The offshore wind projects are also estimated to create 850 new jobs.