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Maryland can benefit from off-shore wind

2:15 PM EST, January 25, 2013

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Recent letters commenting on wind power don't appreciate the significant benefits offshore wind power will provide — not just for Maryland but all of America. Several land-based wind energy projects are already operating in Maryland, and these projects have helped to create hundreds of jobs.

In fact, the success of the land-based wind industry in the U.S., which has created over 75,000 jobs and contributed to the placement of over 400 manufacturing facilities across 43 states, demonstrates the economic development potential for offshore wind.

Offshore wind is a vast, as of yet untapped, source of energy that is close to major population centers and provides the potential for power generation during times of high demand. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the potential for offshore wind power in the U.S. is four times greater than the country's current total electricity supply from all sources.

Adding offshore wind will help stabilize energy prices, as it acts as a hedge against volatile fossil fuel prices and displaces the most expensive, least-efficient power plants first. Savings from displacing these most expensive generation sources can then be passed onto consumers.

It's no wonder that the majority of Marylanders strongly support the growth of offshore wind power. A new poll conducted by Annapolis-based polling organization OpinionWorks found that an overwhelming majority of Maryland citizens support the development of offshore wind power.

When you look at the facts, adding offshore wind power to the generation mix makes sense not just from an environmental perspective, but for consumers as well.

David Ward, Washington, D.C.

The writer is a spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association.

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