Offshore wind energy plan approved in Maryland

The bill, an amended version of a plan proposed by Governor Martin O’Malley, would require utilities to have 2.5 percent of their electricity generated by wind power, and power companies could charge customers up to an additional $1.50 per 1,000 kWh a month to keep the generators operating.

The fee would not be added to residents’ bills until at least 2017, the earliest date the administration expects an offshore wind farm would be in operation.

The bill also includes an amendment that applies Maryland’s minority business enterprise requirements to all offshore wind projects and establishes the Offshore Wind Business Development Fund, which will provide $10 million to Maryland’s small businesses, to ensure that they are active participants in the offshore wind supply chain. The money will come from some of the recent funding in the Exelon-Constellation merger carved out for offshore wind.