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Offshore wind farm a possible boon to Prince George's economy

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Published on: Tuesday, March 05, 2013

By Tauren Dyson

The Maryland Offshore Energy Act has passed in the House of Delegates and looks likely to clear a hurdle in the state Senate to become law. If passed, the potential future employment opportunities could be a boon for Prince George’s County.

“The offshore wind industry is inevitably coming, will grow in scale, and will provide thousands of good paying manufacturing and industry jobs,” said County Councilwoman Mary A. Lehman, District 1, in a statement. “This is an opportunity we shouldn’t pass up, and in fact should try to position Prince George’s County to receive the economic benefits.”

Jobs from the wind industry could come to the county in the way of construction jobs along the Maryland coastline, some of which runs along Prince George’s. The construction of offshore wind farms along the coast of the county could mean more construction jobs for its residents. It could also mean more business for contractors, as well.

“There are 90 businesses in Prince George’s County that are in industries that could participate in the offshore wind supply chain,” said Lauren Randall, Sierra Club communication assistant.

Two previous versions of the bill have failed to pass through the Maryland General Assembly before but will now be sent to a Senate that has already given cosponsor approval for the measure.

To date, no other wind farms exist off the shorelines of the United States. According to a recent Washington Post article, 58 percent of Maryland residents are in favor of the measure.

Supporters of the bill also tout the health benefits of bringing wind farms to Maryland shorelines. Some studies report that particulates from coal plants, which are currently the primary source electricity in the state, have been shown to have adverse health effects for people living in surrounding areas.

“I believe alternative forms of energy are important as Maryland strives to diversify our energy consumption habits from oil and coal,” said County Councilman Obie Patterson, District 8. “The Offshore Wind Bill offers an opportunity to continue moving Maryland in the right direction with a sustainable energy policy that will benefit future generations.”

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see that both our legislators in Prince George’s County and in the General Assembly are listening to Marylanders and voting in favor of more clean energy for our state,” said Vidal Hines, Sierra Club Maryland Cleaner Energy organizer. “Offshore wind will create more local jobs, improve the health of our communities, and create a safer climate for our children’s futures. It’s a no-brainer.”

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