Maryland Lawmakers Propose Offshore Wind Boost

Legislators of the U.S. state of Maryland have introduced a bill that would allow at least 1,200MW of additional offshore wind capacity to be built by 2030.

If enacted, the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 (S.B. 516) would require 50% of energy supply to come from renewable energy sources by 2030, doubling the current renewable portfolio standard (RPS) targets.

New offshore wind capacity is required beginning with at least 400MW in 2026, increasing to at least 800MW in 2028 and 1,200MW in 2030.

Maryland’s current RPS requires that state electricity suppliers generate 20.4% of the energy from renewables, including at least 2.5% from offshore wind energy and 1.95% from solar energy.

The legislation also calls for a study of the impacts of the revised RPS, including the feasibility of increasing it to 100% renewable energy sources by 2040.

If passed, the legislation will establish new criteria for qualified offshore wind projects, open additional application periods for future projects less than 10 miles off the coast (Round 2 Offshore Wind Projects), and require the Public Service Commission to approve of projects with “net economic, environmental and health benefits to the state” that do not increase the net rate on average customers by specified amounts.

In addition, it would fund small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses in the state’s clean energy industry and establish and fund the Clean Energy Workforce Account, a program for training individuals to work in the clean energy industry.

The introduction of the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 follows similar legislation introduced last year, which failed to pass the House Economic Committee.

The new bill has been adopted by the Maryland Senate with several amendments and is now under consideration by the Maryland House of Delegates.

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