Monday, October 17, 2011

Maryland Moves to Approve Offshore Wind Power

Maryland could be closer to wind farm approval
Buoyed by a poll that shows widespread support for offshore wind energy, some Maryland lawmakers say a deal is likely during the 2012 General Assembly session to pave the way for a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City.

“I think we’ll work this out this year, I think that average people support it — the price is not that high,” House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D- Dist. 17) of Gaithersburg said Thursday.

Such legislation would be a victory for Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who has made offshore wind power a cornerstone of his environmental policy.

O’Malley has proposed legislation to allow about 120 wind turbines 11 miles off the coast. In the last General Assembly session, it stalled in House and Senate committees amid concerns and uncertainties about the cost. The proposal was committed to further study.
 As I've mentioned before, I'm on the cusp regarding the utility of wind power particularly on the bay or in the coast.  On the plus side, I like the idea of more energy, regardless of whether or not it substitutes for any other energy.  Energy is the blood of our civilization.  People who try to fix civilization by choking back energy production are like the doctors of yore who treated almost every illness imaginable with leeches and bloodletting.

I'm not desperately concerned with the problem that wind energy is transient and periodic.  We can store energy in a myriad number of ways, but that will have to be considered as part of the price of making wind energy practical.

I'm a little concerned that the environuts will use it as an excuse to choke back coal and gas fired power generation unnecessarily, and, if they don't solve the periodicity problem, have a weaker, more fragile energy supply, and if they do, and wind power is substantially more expensive, an unnecessary rise in the price of power.

I'm most concerned with the ecological effects, particularly those on birds and bats.  For all that the greens  tout wind power as a big source of energy for the future, wind generators take a terrible toll on birds and bats, particularly big raptors like eagles, osprey, and vultures.  If an oil producer killed a fraction of the number of birds that a wind farm did, the government would take them to court.  It has!

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