Tag Archives: O’Malley

O’Malley and Markell Ask Obama to Help Spark Offshore Wind

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has teamed up with Delaware Governor Jack Markell in a letter to President Obama asking him to join their states in signing up for power from offshore wind.

The proximity of Washington, D.C., to the mid-Atlantic’s offshore wind resources, coupled with the number of federal agencies and military installations in and around the DC metropolitan region, creates an exceptional opportunity to forge a federal-state partnership for the development of a power-purchase agreement for offshore-wind generated energy.  Development of one gigawatt (GW) of wind energy in the mid-Atlantic region could lead to the creation of 15,000 to 20,000 clean energy jobs.

Recall just what is at stake here.  Earlier this year, a report from the Abell Foundation found that:

… Maryland’s feasible wind resource off of its Atlantic coast (including both state and federal waters) is large enough to significantly contribute to the electric demand in the state.  Using existing, proven technology (monopile; 5 MW turbines) and accounting for various social, environmental, and nautical exclusion zones and conflict areas, Maryland’s available offshore wind resource could provide 67% of the state’s electric load.

That’s just Maryland — the potential resource extends along the entire eastern seaboard and out to the edge of the Outer Continental Shelf.  In total, it is a truly massive “deposit” of energy that is clean and located close to our country’s major load centers.  It means many, well-paying local jobs into the bargain.

Unfortunately, this opportunity faces determined opposition from the fossil-fuel-burning power companies who prefer the existing arrangement.  They have stymied the Cape Wind project for nearly a decade and probably hope to do the same to offshore wind development elsewhere on the East Coast.

The fossil-fuel industry would much prefer to build new transmission lines westward from Maryland to the Ohio valley in order to ramp up production at toxic-coal-burning power plants.  “Coal-by-wire” projects with names like Path, TrAIL and MAPP are all part of “Project Mountaineer.”

O’Malley and Markell want federal agencies to sign long-term power purchase agreements to buy power from offshore wind and take other steps to clear the way.

We can debate climate policy forever — which is exactly what the toxic-coal industry would like us to do.  What really matters are the decisions that get made about the energy infrastructure we start building today.  So, which will it be, President Obama?

Coal-by-wire or offshore wind?


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O’Malley Joins East Coast Governors to Challenge Transmission Bailout

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.

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Another Step Forward for Maryland Offshore Wind

Governor O’Malley joined nine other East Coast governors in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of the Interior.  The MOU commits the parties to work together to coordinate a variety of issues related to developing the massive — and nearby — energy resources located to the east.  States involved cover the coast from North Carolina to Maine.

In some cases, large, multi-agency attempts at coordination tend to slow things down more than speed them up.  In this case, coordination of this type seems to be merited.  Among the matters to tackled is transmission:

Examining regional offshore wind transmission strategies, and producing specific recommendations to address relevant planning and siting processes with Federal regulators, regional transmission organizations, and state officials.

Optimal development of the wind resources of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) will probably require an underwater, coast-wise transmission system linking together some or all of the wind farms (as has been advocated by Professor Kempton).  This would enable a more steady power output.

Planning this new transmission system will require the cooperation of three regional transmission operators — New England, New York and PJM) — as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  The fossil fuel interests will look for any opportunity they can find to stall this effort — as they have sabotaged the Cape Wind proposal for ten years.

One thing — besides prosecuting those responsible and assisting all who have been directly harmed — we should get out of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is a determined effort to develop offshore wind in the USA.  We will need to hold the politicians’ feet to the fire.

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Maryland Joins the Race for LED Lighting

The Maryland Energy Administration has awarded $600,000 to a company developing energy-efficient, solid-state lighting.

“This award will not only benefit TDI and Maryland, but also better position the USA to compete in the global solid-state lighting market,” believes TDI’s president Bernard Scanlan. “Governor O’Malley and his team are working to create jobs by putting Maryland on the road to benefit from emerging technologies that will create jobs, cut taxpayers’ electricity bills, and reduce US dependence on foreign oil,” he adds.

Later this year, homeowners should be able to purchase DOE-certified LED (light-emitting diode) replacements for the 60-watt bulb.

In the meantime, commercial applications continue to grow.  The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Florida, recently completed a multi-miilion-dollar renovation that included installation of LED lighting in hallways and lobby that are lit 24/7.  Each 10-watt LED fixture replaced two 50-watt halogen bulbs, for a 90 percent energy savings.  The hotel expects to recover the cost of the lamps in nine months and realize savings of half a million dollars in four years.

An added attraction for business is the long lifetime of LEDs which reduces maintenance costs.  The expense of paying someone to replace burned out bulbs exceeds the cost of electricity for conventional lighting.  Because homeowners change their own bulbs, they lack this incentive.  This fact increases the importance of the DOE “L-Prize” which will give homeowners more confidence as they contemplate the switch to LED lighting.


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O’Malley Advances Offshore Wind

The massive offshore wind resource on the East Coast holds great potential for tackling Maryland’s energy challenges.

Governor O’Malley is leading a steady march towards realizing this opportunity.  Last year, he joined other governors in a letter urging Congressional leaders to speed up offshore wind development, instead of promoting on-shore transmission only.

In November, O’Malley signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the governors of Virginia and Delware to promote offshore wind.  The Maryland Energy Administration has taken aggressive steps to clear the way, including mapping the offshore resource.  Maryland will purchase power from NRG Bluewater’s offshore wind project.

In November, Governor O’Malley joined with the governors of Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware to ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to order private transmission operator PJM Interconnection to consider transmission solutions that would facilitate the development of offshore wind resources.  (See FERC Docket No. AD09-8-00).

It’s great news that the Governor’s legislative agenda includes additional steps to move wind forward.  SB 282 “Off-Shore Wind Generation – Qualified Submerged Renewable Energy Line” will facilitate the construction of transmission connectors needed to bring offshore power to the onshore grid.

Meanwhile, Europe’s offshore wind industry powers ahead.

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Maryland Takes First Steps in Offshore Wind

The Maryland Energy Administration announced that it has taken the first steps to follow up on Governor O’Malley’s committment to developing offshore wind, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Last May, the Governor joined nine other governors of East Coat states in urging Congressional leaders to support development of

…the waters adjacent to the East Coats [which] hold potential for developing some of the most robust wind energy resources in the world — enough wind potential to meet total U.S. electricity demand as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has recently pointed out.

MEA administrator Woolf picked up on this theme in his announcement.

“We know Maryland has great wind resources off our shore,” said Malcolm Woolf, state energy administrator. “We’ve got to figure out how best to tap into them.”

Maryland follows in the wake of other East Coast states.

Delaware recently settled on Bluewater Wind, a subsidiary of a national energy firm, to build a 230-megawatt string of turbines 13 miles off Rehoboth Beach. New Jersey has tapped Bluewater and two other companies to develop wind projects off its coast.

Maryland will undertake research to better understand the offshore wind resources.

Woolf said the new study will give developers technical information on wind speeds and ocean depths, so they can decide where or whether to bid for building offshore turbines. The study {…} is expected to be completed early next year…

Offshore wind requires more time to develop than does onshore wind.  The sooner we get started, the better.

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