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House panel approves offshore wind bill

Legislation that would create a renewable energy credit for Maryland companies that use offshore wind as a certain percentage of their energy generation was passed by a House of Delegates panel on Monday, moving the bill closer to a vote in that chamber.

HB 441 creates incentive for companies to construct energy-producing wind turbines at least 10 miles off the coast of Ocean City.

“This bill is an important first step,” Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said in a statement. “It will help clean our air, create jobs, and combat the extreme weather impacts we’re already seeing from climate change.”

Following a 13-6 vote, the Economic Matters Committee reported favorably on the legislation, which will now be open to debate and amendment on the House floor. If approved, it would still face consideration in the Senate.

The bill is backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley. Similar legislation failed in the General Assembly in 2011.