Offshore Wind to Expand in Maryland over Next 15 Years

The carbon pollution from two entire coal plants could be eliminated in Maryland if wind power supplied 30 percent of the nation’s electricity needs, according to a new analysis by Environment Maryland. The analysis comes just as Congress considers whether to renew tax credits critical to wind development.

“Wind power can replace the dirty energy sources of the past and the pollution that comes with them,” said Bailey Rehnberg, Campaign Organizer for Environment Maryland. “But Congress needs to act now to ensure a clean energy future.”

Wind power projects in Maryland already produced enough energy in 2013 to power over 29,000 homes. The analysis also predicts offshore wind will significantly expand in Maryland over the next 15 years, producing enough power for over 750,000 homes and offsetting the dangerous pollution of dirty energy sources.

“We pay for dirty energy with our health; we pay with irrevocable damage to our climate; we pay by experiencing more storms like Hurricane Sandy and extreme heat,” said Clara Summers, the Baltimore Program Associate for Interfaith Power and Light. “One of the reasons why wind energy is such a hopeful option is that it does not have any health or climate impacts associated with it, and that’s a blessing.”

The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes three days after the comment period closed for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which Congressional leaders are trying to block. The analysis also comes as lawmakers jockey over the fate of wind energy tax credits in the nation’s spending plan, due to be adopted next week.

The new report also has implications for avoiding the public health risks associated with dirty energy sources.

“This is a chance for Maryland to take action in protecting our children from harmful pollution,” said Trisha Sheehan, Northeast Regional Field Manager of Moms Clean Air Force. “Moms know that dirty fossil fuels are harming our families and communities. We need more clean and renewable sources, like offshore wind power. Our children are depending on us.”

The United States has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the East Coast. Offshore wind development, which is in its very nascent stages in the U.S., is critical to achieving the 30 percent target, the report said.

“Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming,” said Bailey Rehnberg. “That’s why our leaders should invest now in healthy air and a healthy planet.”

Maryland has consistently been a leader in setting standards to cut dirty energy and transition to clean energy. Once again, Maryland is leading the nation in transitioning from dirty fossil fuels to a clean energy future, like wind power.

Marylanders are standing with businesses, faith leaders, and elected officials to lead the nation in expanding clean energy standards for our state. It’s time for Maryland to double its commitment to clean energy by doubling our clean energy standards to 40% by 2025. Maryland is ready to lead the nation’s path to a clean energy future.

Press release; Image: vattenfall

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