Wind bill blows through House, sets up Senate action

With lobbyists and business owners sitting in the balcony, the House of Delegates gave approval to offshore wind legislation supported by Gov. Martin O'Malley on Friday, shifting onus to the Senate and setting up the real show for next week. By an 88-47 vote, the House approved the bill, which would create a carve-out in Maryland's renewable energy portfolio for wind. By doing so, the bill would guarantee a market for developers who could build wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City. A Senate version of the bill is held up in committee, but bill proponents -- armed with a House bill approval -- are rallying the troops for a final push to pass the legislation in both chambers during the last week of the General Assembly. The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a nonprofit group dedicated to fighting global warming,  estimates that at least 500 proponents of windy energy will encircle the State House, hand-in-hand, on Monday night just before 8 p.m. The House will resume session Monday at 6 p.m. and the Senate will reconvene at 8 p.m. Demonstrators will hold "eco-friendly glow-in-the-dark miniature wind turbines, hand-made banners and signs, and [wear] electric blue t-shirts," according to Jamie Nolan, communications director for Chesapeake. On Friday, Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery, joined state business leaders to give the legislation one last push -- one that proponents hope will propel momentum for the bill into next week.