On Tuesday Maryland’s Governor MartinO’Malley signed the state’s first offshore wind bill into law. The law, which made its through House of Delegates in February and the state Senate in March, will provide as much as $1.7 billion to construct a wind farm off the coast of Maryland. The new measure alters Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), adding offshore wind as one of the renewable categories.
The governor’s office states the construction of an offshore wind farm would bring as many as 850 construction jobs to the state and maintain 160 more operational and maintenance positions more permanently. Maryland’s wind farm may well be the first instance American offshore wind power, although Massachusetts and Virginia are other sites slated for possible development.
AEE’s CEO Graham Richard congratulated Governor O’Malley and the Maryland legislature in a statement released Tuesday. “Harnessing the power of the wind just a few miles off the East Coast offers a much needed source of clean electricity near major load centers and promises significant job creation,” Richard stated. “AEE was proud to support this bill in the legislature, and is pleased to see it become law.”
That wasn’t this week’s only legislative victory for advanced energy, however. Thanks in large part to the efforts of AEE’s regional partner, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, SB640 is headed to the desk of Governor Mike Beebe. The measure provides for Property Assessed Clean Energy financing programs. These programs allow for businesses and property owners to retrofit their preexisting properties, which often result in positive cash flow. The loans are funded through energy improvement districts, and are repaid through special assessment on the property. Because the energy savings are often more than the loan payment, it makes sense for business owners.
In both Maryland and Arkansas, the business community made the case for the legislation. “The advanced energy business community was also a key force in gaining passage of PACE legislation this year where it failed in previous legislatures,” said AAEA’s Executive Director Steve Patterson.
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