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Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., signed into law on Tuesday the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, legislation meant to create a framework for the development of wind energy off the state's coast.

Passed by the Maryland House of Delegates in February and the state Senate in March, the legislation aims to provide up to $1.7 billion to subsidize the construction of a 200 MW offshore wind farm. If such a wind farm is proposed, permitted and constructed, the act would allow Maryland utility customers to be charged $1.50 a month on their electricity bills to help offset the project costs.

In addition, the legislation alters Maryland’s 20% by 2020 renewable portfolio standard, requiring the state’s utilities to procure up to 2.5% of their electricity from offshore wind starting in 2017 if such a project is built.

According to the governor’s office, a 200 MW offshore wind farm would support about 850 manufacturing and construction jobs and 160 more supply and operations and maintenance jobs afterwards.

O’Malley introduced the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 in January, his third attempt at establishing offshore wind legislation. His 2011 and 2012 versions of the act were defeated by the Maryland General Assembly.


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