ANNAPOLIS — Despite concerns that momentum behind the governor’s offshore wind energy bill is fading, Delegate Dereck Davis, D-Prince George’s, said Friday that the bill has more than a fighting chance to pass this session.
The governor’s signature energy initiative has faced opposition from legislators concerned about the project’s costs to the state and consumers.
Davis, who is continuing to have meetings with Gov. Martin O’Malley and his staff, said he plans to turn the full attention of the House Economic Matters Committee to the bill next week. Davis chairs the committee.
That leaves less than two weeks before the end of the legislative session to get the bill out of committees and passed in the House and Senate.
The bill would contractually obligate utility companies to purchase some energy from offshore wind production companies for 25 years, once the wind turbines have been built. The turbines would be located about 12 miles offshore of Ocean City.
O’Malley announced Wednesday that he was introducing amendments to the bill that would cap rate increases at $2 per month, which Davis said could help get the bill out of committee.
“Any cap helps,” Davis said. “What folks want is a certain amount of cost certainty. That can’t do anything but help so that was certainly a good move on the governor’s part.”
Some of the bill’s opponents believe it is too cumbersome to pass this session, with some Senate Finance Committee members saying it should be recommended for a study over the summer.
Steelworkers unions and environmentalists are united in seeing the bill pass in the hopes that building the turbines would bring jobs to Maryland and help the state reach a goal of generating 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2022.
– By Capital News Service’s Kerry Davis.