Maryland has the opportunity this week to go where no state has gone before. Not exactly deep space, but a big leap into uncharted territory nevertheless. The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2012, spearheaded by Gov. Martin O’ Malley, places a good bet on offshore wind by incentivizing the development of what could be the nation’s first offshore wind farm—providing stable, renewable wind power to the state’s residents and positioning Maryland to become a leader in the manufacturing and development sectors for decades to come. The measure passed the state House of Delegates last week and moves to the Senate for this, the final week of Maryland’s 2012 legislative session.
Though Europe and even China have realized the vast economic and environmental potential that accompanies harnessing the power of offshore wind for years, there are currently zero turbines operating in U.S. waters. The upfront costs of creating an entire industry are high, but the prize for winning the race to develop the nation’s first offshore wind farm will be gaining a foothold for tremendous potential economic development opportunities in turbine manufacturing and maintenance that will come to a regional hub for a burgeoning industry.
Kiley Kroh and Erin Gustafson look at what Maryland has to gain from the state’s Senate passing a law promoting offshore wind.
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