Moving Gov. Martin O’Malley one step closer to a long-sought victory, the House of Delegates gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation intended to foster development of an offshore wind industry off
Ocean City.

The legislation advanced after delegates decisively rejected a flurry of amendments by Republican opponents of the measure, who objected to subsidizing the emerging industry. O’Malley contend the measure would help diversify Maryland’s electricity supply, promote the use of renewable energy and create jobs.

The bill, which is expected to pass this year after two years in which it failed, could receive final approval in the House by the end of the week. A companion bill is still making its way through the Senate.