Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Huge Victory for Offshore Wind in Maryland

Energy
Huge Victory for Offshore Wind in Maryland

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The winds of change brought some great progress to Maryland this week when the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 passed through both houses of the legislature. The offshore wind bill has been championed from the start by Governor Martin O'Malley, who stands ready to sign the bill into law.

This is a huge victory that is nationally significant for two reasons. First, it could well be the tipping point that allows us to finally tap the massive offshore wind potential off the East Coast. Second, it will ensure historically underrepresented minority groups and small businesses will benefit from the jobs and investment dollars that offshore wind projects will generate.

The bill will help develop a 200 megawatt wind project off the coast of Ocean City by requiring electricity suppliers to buy offshore renewable energy credits.

This victory comes after three years of hard work by thousands of activists who know that Maryland can be a national clean energy leader.

"We started this campaign with our allies in 2010 with a town hall meeting in Ocean City, out of which the Maryland Offshore Wind Coalition formed," said Sierra Club Maryland conservation organizer Christine Hill.

"Ever since then we've kept up a steady campaign of rallies, more town hall meetings, door-knocking, phone-banking, mailings, letters-to-the-editor and lobbying members of the legislature, positioning ourselves to win."

What makes this offshore wind bill even more monumental is that it will bring more jobs to historically underrepresented groups. It includes a $10 million development fund targeted to small and minority businesses to assist them in preparing to participate in the offshore wind supply chain and sets up a task force to study the feasibility of incorporating degree programs into Maryland Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The legislation was championed by various organizations because of this focus on providing key provisions for minority groups. The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland was a major champion of the task force. We held a rally where more than 100 students came out to rally their legislators to incorporate offshore wind degree programs at HBCUs. The NAACP's Maryland Conference also named offshore wind as one of their top priorities this year.

As Hill put it, "It's so great to see our state committed to replacing dirty, outdated fossil fuels that contribute to climate disruption with clean, renewable offshore energy that will create more jobs and safeguard our children’s future."

This new clean energy can't come soon enough, as dirty and outdated coal plants are harming Marylanders' health. For example, the Charles P. Crane and Herbert A. Wagner plants in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties threaten the region with dangerous sulfur dioxide pollution at levels more than four times what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed safe.

Sulfur dioxide is known to cause respiratory problems including breathing difficulty, asthma attacks and diminished lung function. It can be especially dangerous for kids, the elderly and those suffering from respiratory disease.

Offshore wind is a solid economic choice for the state. Based on a report from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a major 200 megawatt offshore wind project would create almost 850 manufacturing and construction jobs for five years and an additional 160 ongoing supply and operations and maintenance jobs thereafter.

We hope this will inspire many other Atlantic coast states to move forward with offshore wind as well. Clean energy boosts the economy, creates jobs and doesn't harm public health. Congratulations to everyone in Maryland who worked so tirelessly on this bill.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy.

 

Milkyway from Segara Anak - Rinjani Mountain. Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. It rises to 12,224 ft, making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia. On the top of the volcano is a 3.7 by 5.3 mi caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea) due to blue color of water lake as Laut (Sea). This lake is approximately 6,600 ft above sea level and estimated to be about 660 ft deep; the caldera also contains hot springs. Sasak tribe and Hindu people assume the lake and the mount are sacred and some religion activities are occasionally done in the two areas. Abdul Azis / Moment / Getty Images

By Dirk Lorenzen

2021 begins as a year of Mars. Although our red planetary neighbor isn't as prominent as it was last autumn, it is still noticeable with its characteristic reddish color in the evening sky until the end of April. In early March, Mars shines close to the star cluster Pleiades in the constellation Taurus.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D.

Despite a journey to this moment even more treacherous than expected, Americans now have a fresh opportunity to act, decisively, on climate change.

The authors of the many new books released in just the past few months (or scheduled to be published soon) seem to have anticipated this pivotal moment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marsh Creek in north-central California is the site of restoration project that will increase residents' access to their river. Amy Merrill

By Katy Neusteter

The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less
A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less