Senate Finance Committee
SB 237 - Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2012

Position: The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of HB 237, altering the Maryland renewable energy portfolio standard program to include a specified amount of energy derived from offshore wind energy; prohibiting the portion of the renewable energy portfolio that represents offshore wind energy from applying to retail electricity sales by a supplier in excess of a specified amount of industrial process load; etc.

Investing in Renewable Energy Builds a More Reliable and Healthier Energy Future for Maryland
Offshore Wind could provide Maryland with energy that is affordable, safe, clean, reliable and renewable. Offshore wind would spare Maryland the hundreds of tons of highly toxic waste produced by nuclear plants each year and the environmental and public damages of mining and burning coal; in fact, establishing offshore wind power could save the state $4 billion in health costs linked to coal-fired electricity.

In September 2010, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimated that nearly 213 gigawatts of wind power could be tapped along the Atlantic coast of the United States. NREL went on to indicate that the Atlantic states would "generate $200 billion in new economic activity and create more than 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs if 54 gigawatts of the 212.98 gigawatts of available offshore wind resources were utilized."

The bill is modeled on an approach already adopted by New Jersey’s state legislature with bipartisan support; the goals of SB 237 are attainable and the benefits are numerous and diverse. Maryland PIRG supports the passage of SB 237 and requests a favorable report.