The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill Friday that will create incentives for developers to build a 200-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Ocean City.
The legislation, sponsored by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), passed 86-48 after a few Republicans made a last effort to dissuade their colleagues.
If the bill is successful, said critic Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Dist. 7) of Middlesex, the 40-turbine project will do two things: It will power 61,000 homes, just a fraction of the 2.1 million homes in the state, and it will allow O’Malley to say, “I am the presidential candidate leading on wind power.”
But advocates of the bill say that it will do much more for the state, including creating hundreds of jobs and reducing the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.
“Maryland can lead the new job-creating and climate change-fighting offshore wind industry,” Mike Tidwell, president of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said in a statement. “It’s now the Senate’s turn to send this bill to Governor O’Malley’s desk for his signature.”
This is the third year that O’Malley has introduced the legislation, and the second in which it has passed the House. Last year, the bill died in a Senate committee, but membership in that committee has been changed this year to facilitate the bill’s success.
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on the measure next week.
It is expected to pass both the committee and the full Senate.