Maryland Envisions Offshore Wind Economy

Wind energy could generate two-thirds of the electricity people in Maryland currently use according to a new report funded by the Abell Foundation. It calls for installation of 2900 turbines far enough offshore so landlubbers can't see them.

Land-based wind farms generate controversy, perhaps one reason why coastal states including Maryland are looking offshore to quench the nation's growing appetite for alternative energy.

The Baltimore-based Abell Foundation study, written by researchers at the University of Delaware's Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, shows a turbine network installed in shallow waters 28 to 43 miles off the Maryland coast could generate enough electricity for the state to eventually become a net-exporter of wind energy.

The Baltimore Sun's Timothy Wheeler cites Jeremy Firestone, lead author of the study who says: "There is, if Maryland so chooses, a significant opportunity to develop a very robust offshore wind energy economy and create a new economic and job base in the state."

A Maryland state energy analyst says the reports confirms his agency's own findings on the potential of offshore wind. Though there are no plans to "carpet" Maryland waters with huge wind turbines, the Governor's office has asked state lawmakers to change coastal protection laws to allow power cables to be strung ashore from from turbines.

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