A company with billions of dollars at stake in Maryland is Exelon Corp., the Chicago-based firm that needs state approval to merge with Baltimore's Constellation Energy Group. The projected $7.9 billion deal would move the utility's headquarters to Chicago and lead to the expected loss of 600 jobs, mostly in Baltimore, in Constellation's legal, information technology, financial and other departments.

O'Malley says he wants a better deal for the state, and he has opposed the deal in its present form.

Exelon cut a check for $250,000 to the DGA in June 2011. The amount stood out for its size, tying with a donation from Pfizer as the second-largest to the organization this year.

The contribution also is noteworthy because it was far larger than Exelon's previous donations. IRS records show that the largest check Exelon had written previously to the DGA was for $25,000 in 2004. (The company says it gave $35,000 the next year, though there is no IRS record of the transaction.)

Exelon spokeswoman Judith Rader said the $250,000 check is for the DGA's "yearlong national energy policy symposium series," which is "taking place in multiple cities across the country."

She said the company supports groups and candidates in its service areas "who can impact energy policy through their roles."

Offshore wind energy

The financial rewards made possible by Maryland's waste-to-energy law are small compared with the potential profits at stake in the governor's proposal to spur development of a wind farm off Ocean City. O'Malley's bill essentially would require utilities to buy energy produced by its turbines. The legislation would put Maryland in the vanguard of the field.

As the governor has advocated for offshore wind, some companies have reached into their pockets to support the DGA. Beowulf Energy, a firm that employs O'Malley's former chief of staff, Michael R. Enright, gave $10,000 to the association this year. The firm was one of eight companies that told federal permitters they are interested in developing a wind farm off Maryland's coast.

A Beowulf spokesman said the company gave because officials "appreciated the opportunity to discuss national energy policy with a number of governors and energy leaders" at the Cambridge conference.

Another Maryland-based company, Atlantic Grid Operations A, which helps with design and permitting for offshore wind projects, gave $25,000. The firm is part of the Offshore Wind Developers Coalition, a group that testified in Annapolis in support of O'Malley's bill.

NRG Energy, which has an affiliate in the Offshore Wind Developers Coalition, doubled its previous contribution to the DGA, going from $25,000 to $50,000.

Competitive Power Ventures

Competitive Power Ventures, which wants to build a power plant in Southern Maryland, was candid about its support for the DGA. "In our world, when you have elected officials and organizations that agree with your outlook … of course you support them," said Senior Vice President Braith Kelly.

The company, based in Silver Spring, lobbied hard to have the Public Service Commission require BGE and Pepco to agree to buy power from a new plant in Maryland. CPV hopes to gain approval to build a $750 million, natural gas-fired power plant in Charles County.

Kelly said company officials have supported O'Malley's positions on energy for years. "He has stepped out in front of daunting, incredibly complex issues," Kelly said.

The company wrote five checks — for $20,000 each — to the DGA this year. CPV had never given significant amounts to the DGA before, but Kelly said there had been several years of "courting" by the association.

In October, CPV got what it wanted. The PSC ordered utilities to consider proposals for a 1,500-megawatt natural gas plant. It was the first time the regulatory commission had done so in more than 10 years and was widely seen as a step back from Maryland's policy of deregulation.

Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Dresser contributed to this article.



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