Wind energy advocates encircle State House

By Justin Snow

It was an unusual sight Monday night as hundreds of people joined hands and encircled the State House to show support for wind power legislation.

Wind energy supporters join hands around the State House on Monday night

More than 400 turned out to push for final passage of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s offshore wind energy bill, which passed the House of Delegates last week and must now clear the Senate. Activists rallied before forming the “circle of support” and were greeted by a number of lawmakers, including O’Malley himself, who urged the crowd to lobby their senators in the days before the General Assembly adjourns next week.

“We can guarantee ourselves a long-term hedge for a commodity whose price will not rise,” O’Malley said. “It would be absolutely nuts for us as an Atlantic state not to want to be one of the first to harness the most available renewable resource we have out there.”

The bill would erect 40 wind turbines 10 miles off the coast of Ocean City by 2017. It would also cap the household surcharge at $1.50 per 1000 kilowatt-hours, while businesses would pay a surcharge of 1.5% of total consumption.

Chants of “We want wind” echoed across Lawyers Mall as O’Malley exited the podium. He was followed by a long line of speakers, including several delegates and senators, who all echoed his call for lobbying, arguing that investing in wind energy would create jobs and help the environment.

After the speeches, the more than 400 rally-goers moved in a single-file line around the State House. Many held miniature wind turbines that glowed blue as they sang, “All we are saying is give wind a chance,” directed to the legislators inside. According to supporters it was the first time in recent memory, if not ever, that a group has encircled the State House.

Supporters have pushed hard for the governor’s bill, which has been downsized considerably from similar legislation that failed to pass the legislature last year.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of 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. JGwen

    Eric Hoffer “True Believers” All! Mark Levin’s “Ameritopians!” Would that they Personally Provide theFinancing! Maryland’s resident’s (particularly the private sector workers) don’t need pie in the sky “Blowin in the Wind” promises of a Utopia lighted, warmed and cooled by the fickle winds of fate … at yet another Government (grossly under projected, as usual) cost in customer/tax payer/rate payer dollars and dependability. These fans should take a trip to the UK in the worst cold of winter and Texas in the worst heat of summer before they hook their carts to the MOST EXPENSIVE form of energy.

    Plant Type – Wind – Offshore
    Capacity Factor (%) = 34
    U.S. Average Levelized Costs (2009 $/megawatthour) for Plants Entering Service in 2016
    Levelized Capital Cost = 209.3
    Fixed O&M = 28.1
    Variable O&M (including fuel) = 0.0
    Transmission Investment = 5.9
    Total System Levelized Cost = 243.2

    Plant Type – Natural Gas-fired  [From Fracking potentially ?]
    Advanced Combined Cycle
    Capacity Factor (%)= 87
    U.S. Average Levelized Costs (2009 $/megawatthour) for Plants Entering Service in 2016
    Levelized Capital Cost =17.9
    Fixed O&M =1.9
    Variable O&M (including fuel) = 42.1
    Transmission Investment = 1.2
    Total System Levelized Cost = 63.1

    1 Costs are expressed in terms of net AC power available to the grid for the installed capacity.
    Source: Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2011, December 2010, DOE/EIA-0383(2010)

  2. abby_adams

    Let’s see how supportive these individuals will be once the transmission lines start clogging up their pristine coast line. Looks like Washington Gas missed a prime opportunity to sign up electric customers willing to pay the freight for wind energy NOW rather than saddle ALL users in the future.  


  1. Critical List: Warmest March on record for 25 states; LEGO hermit crab shell | Grist - [...] Maryland state legislature is working on clearing the way for offshore wind. Climate change may lead to geopolitical unrest,…

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