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Third time's the charm for O'Malley's offshore wind proposal

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Local,Maryland,Andy Brownfield,Environment

Gov. Martin O'Malley's offshore wind proposal is headed to his desk for a signature as the House quietly signed off on changes made by the Senate late Monday night.

The bill would require that by 2017 that 2.5 percent of all energy sold in Maryland come from a wind farm built miles off the coast of Ocean City.

Because wind energy is more expensive to generate, it would raise rates for residential customers by up to $1.50 per month. Rate increases for all other customers would be capped at 1.5 percent of their total electric bill, but farmers and some businesses would be able to stop paying the higher rate after they use a certain amount of energy.

The bill would give a successful developer up to $1.7 billion over 20 years in a subsidy funded by the higher rates on ratepayers.

Creating a wind farm off Maryland's coast has long been a priority of O'Malley's, whose two previous attempts failed to pass the General Assembly.

abrownfield@washingtonexaminer.com

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