Poll: Marylanders want wind power, even if it costs more

By Megan Poinski

Most Marylanders are in favor of paying $2 more a month for greener electricity produced through offshore wind, according to a new poll conducted by Gonzales Research.

Thames Estuary wind turbine

An offshore wind turbine in the Thames Estuary. Photo by phault.

The poll, which was conducted for the National Wildlife Federation and the Offshore Wind Coalition, showed that 62% of Marylanders were willing to pay the surcharge if more of their electricity came from the offshore turbines currently being discussed by the Senate Finance Committee. More than half of them – a total of 39% — feel strongly about paying more for green power.

About a third of Marylanders oppose paying more, with the vast majority of them solidly against paying more.

Four percent of Marylanders had no opinion on the issue.

The results were compiled from 805 telephone interviews with regular voters throughout the state, done between Sept. 19 and 27. The margin of error is 3.5%.

Broken down by location, a large proportion of people everywhere in the state support paying more for wind power. In Baltimore City, three out of four respondents were in favor of paying more. In the Washington, D.C. suburbs, more than two-thirds of those polled said they would take the higher bills. Baltimore suburbs had 62% supporting a higher cost for wind power, and 55% of people on the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland were in favor of a surcharge.

The only place where a majority did not support paying more for wind power was in Western Maryland, where half of the people oppose it. However, 45% of them said they were willing to pay $2 more for wind power.

The issue showed unsurprising deep divisions on party lines. About 77% of Democrats and 55% of independents are in favor of the wind power surcharge. About 58% of Republicans oppose it.

Other findings include:

  • 75% of black respondents are in favor of paying $2 more, while 57% of white respondents feel the same way.
  •  More women – almost 68% — favor the green power surcharge. About 55% of men do.


About The Author

Len Lazarick


Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Glou1100

    It’s interesting that wind power has been offered to Marylanders when Marylanders wont’ choose to lower their electric bill by using a competitive electric suppliers.  Paying $2 more when they can lower their monthly electric bill by $5 to $10?  Please………people don’t get it!  Deregulation took place for Maryland 11 years ago and what are people paying for their electricity today from the main suppliers who we also pay to use their line?  Get with it people!  Open you minds because your eyes are wide open but you can’t mentally put 2+2 together to come up with the correct answer.  Saving money is what everyone should be interesed in doing.  Big Brother controls and little brother (we the people) hold their hands and shake our heads up and down to signify that we’re okay with their decisions.

  2. Karlpfrommer

    When will we stop doing more harm to correct a condition we believe is correctable?  Turning corn into ethanol is one of the greatest boondoggles foisted upon us by the farm lobby.  There are other foolish examples too.  However, off-shore wind turbines are the most inefficient method yet conceived to generate power.  But wait, I’m sure there will be other goody-two-shoe half baked energy ideas to come.

  3. Pescador

    The poll grouped participants by race, gender, geographical location and stated political party but there is no mention of financial status. I wonder how many of our citizens with very limited income would support subsidizing wind generation companies when many need annual assistance with their current electricity bills. There is also no mention of polling businesses, especially small operations, as to their opinion about increased electricity costs to further subsidize the wind industry. We are all already subsidizing these ventures through our taxes with large federal government grants.


  4. Anonymous

    I was not polled, but were I … with our National and State economy in the tank and at least another year of Solyndra and related scams in the offering … I would not be signing up for more personal debt for a form of any energy that will not be commercially viable for the foreseeable future. Until we have successfully emerged from our present disastrous debt, I am very skeptical of ANY Government investing tax payer moneys in enterprises that venture capitalists are rejecting.

    I would like to know the poll participant’s personal familiarity with the “Wind” business. Do they realize that Federal and State tax deals are likely to be involved? Do they realize tax payer moneys are likely to go to support the initial installation? Do they realize that legislation will be passed to permit the electric supplier companies to pass along the additional costs  they have to expend to support “Wind,” may be locked in for as much as 25 years?

    Have they read “O’Malley’s wind energy plan worse than hot air” and “Energy companies contribute thousands to Maryland Democrats” ?

    Assuming installation, perhaps of GE’s new huge Wind Mills – “GE Gambles on Whopper Wind Turbines”, ongoing maintenance off shore will present costly challenges. Users should be aware that the electricity generated can not be stored. Provisions must be made for its timely distribution. Then there are issues that: when the wind doesn’t blow or doesn’t blow strongly – no to less electricity will be generated; when the wind blows too strongly the wind mills must be shut down until conditions moderate; when the weather is too cold they produce less electricity or if it becomes to cold they must be shutdown. Are they aware that, in order to maintain vital electric energy levels, standby electric generation has to be continuously available? Are they aware that “Some planners of  power plants — and one, in particular (a natural gas power plant in Southern Maryland)— have expressed concern that market forces are not enough to spur construction of new power plants. Projects may not attract financing needed for construction unless they have a guaranteed revenue source, such as a contract with a utility or other power user agreeing to buy the power generated over an extended period.” Are they aware that need for standby generation capacity will diminish to seriously diminish the purported environmental benefits of this “green technology.”

    If participant’s in the poll, were not fully aware of at least these basic issues, or were not effectively apprised of them, I would severely question the conclusions that are being implied.

  5. J.W.

    If you think your electric bill will only increase by $2,00 you are all nuts!

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