Poll: Offshore wind picks up support -- Gazette.Net


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A new survey out Thursday indicates 72 percent of Marylanders support investing in offshore wind power at a cost of $2 a month on their electric bill.

The finding boosts Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal for kick-starting development of wind power off the coast of Ocean City.

“We think the more Marylanders learn about the opportunity for offshore wind and the more they learn about the cost of fossil-based fuels, the more they support proposals like the governor’s offshore wind proposal,” said Abigail Hopper, O’Malley’s energy adviser.

The poll, paid for by the Marylanders for Offshore Wind Coalition and conducted by Annapolis-based polling organization OpinionWorks, surveyed 800 Maryland residents between Dec. 28 and Jan. 2. The poll, which had a margin of error of 3.5 percent, found support for wind power up 8 percent from December 2011.

“People are realizing that climate change is not just something that’s going to affect our planet hundreds of years from now, but it’s affecting us today,” said Hopper, citing extreme weather events in recent months. “They also realize that clean energy and renewable energy are ways to abate those effects.”

In the past two legislative sessions, O’Malley (D) has tried and failed to pass legislation that would allow power companies to charge residential customers up to $2 each month to subsidize the high cost of developing a wind farm. That charge was later amended down to $1.50.

Aides said he will be pushing for the bill again as part of a legislative package he is expected to announce Friday.

—Holly Nunn