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House of Delegates prepares to debate offshore wind measure

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland House Economic Matters Committee Chairman Dereck Davis says he expects a rigorous debate and several amendments to be proposed Wednesday when an offshore wind bill that would require utilities to buy renewable energy credits is introduced on the House floor.

“My colleagues want to make sure that we’re implementing the correct public policy, given the potential impact on the citizens of Maryland,” the Prince George’s County Democrat said.

Under the measure, Maryland residents could pay as much as $1.50 a month more once energy is generated by offshore wind. The legislation also proposes rate incentives for developers.

“The project being proposed would create almost 850 manufacturing and construction jobs for five years,” Davis said.

House members were scheduled to take up the bill Tuesday, but the debate was postponed until Wednesday.

The House passed a similar offshore wind bill set in place last year by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, but it failed to make it out of the Senate Finance Committee.

There are currently no offshore wind farms in the United States, although several are in development.

O’Malley, a Democrat, has made the offshore wind measure a key priority this legislative session.

“I welcome the opportunity to explain offshore wind and what it can and cannot do for the state of Maryland,” Davis said.

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