Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley joined a bipartisan group of governors from ten other states in a letter opposing a Congressional plan to subsidize unnecessary new high-voltage power lines that would span the nation. (This follows an earlier joint effort to accelerate offshore wind development.)
While the proposal is touted as “green” because a few land-based wind farms would connect to the new power lines, the biggest beneficiaries would be major toxic-coal-fired generators in the middle of the country whose plants are under-utilized. There is no way to separate “green” electrons from any other kind and local politicians will insist that existing toxic-coal plants be allowed to connect, too.
The transmission bailout scheme is backed by corporate players like Warren Buffet‘s Mid-American Energy and American Electric Power who are among the biggest and dirtiest. Unfortunately, the plan also has the support of the Obama Administration:
“The efficient transmission of clean energy is a critical part of the backbone that the president envisions here,” Bernstein said.
Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles countered:
“The idea that we need a game-changer isn’t right. We need to find the cheapest solution to the greenhouse gas problem, and this is not it.”
Governor O’Malley is right to stick up for Marylanders. Forcing ratepayers to pay for transmission lines to import out-of-state dirty power would undercut efforts to promote energy efficiency and local renewables that will create jobs and economic security for Maryland.
Fossil fuel interests have been battling to block the development of the massive wind resources located off the East Coast for a decade.