I know this story may be hard to believe, but the Governor wants to construct 40 wind turbines that are 80 stories high (think: Baltimore's tallest building) and 20 miles out in the ocean.
This has never been done before. The cost of this green pork scheme is currently calculated to be $2 billion. I believe that estimate is very shallow compared to the eventual real costs. Of course, the usual ATM machines, meaning the people of Maryland, will be mandated to pay for these monstrosities through another new surcharge. The surcharge will be about $2 per month for consumers and unlimited for the business community. I will purchase a free crab cake for every rate payer in the state, if this project costs $2 billion or less.
The economics of wind power is scary at best. Currently, private financing is not available because the bankers, who actually know how to count, believe these projects are super-risky. The federal government has been offering subsidies to keep this rocky industry afloat. We all know that the federal government is broke and the subsidies are on shaky ground. When the subsidies and the whole financial system collapse, will Governor O'Malley, once again, be stalking the abused ATM machines known as the taxpayers?
Wind farm developers have been rapidly retreating from the business. The smart ones are getting out early. The Governor's Wind Energy Act of 2013 passed by a vote of 83 to 50 in the House of Delegates. I offered an amendment that would mandate that all construction materials and assets be purchased in the USA. Even with a tough job market, the Maryland legislators voted against this amendment.
Many environmentalists who support solar, geothermal, nuclear and natural gas are troubled because so many resources are being directed at wind turbines which are not economically viable and produce limited energy.
Let us be optimistic and predict that the Governor's massive ocean wind farm will be constructed. Two goals will be accomplished by this unlikely success story. Number one, the 40 giant towers will produce enough power to light up 61,000 homes. That is less than 0.1 percent. There are 2.1 million homes in the State of Maryland and a nuclear power plant will light up 400,000 to 500,000 homes. The second real goal of this folly is that Governor O'Malley can travel across the country as a presidential candidate and proclaim that he is the nation's environmental leader and the King of Wind.
Del. Pat McDonough
Harford – Baltimore District 7Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun