MD Senate Passes Landmark Offshore Wind Legislation That Would Create Good Jobs, Lower Energy Costs, and Reduce Pollution

POWER Act is Backed by Unprecedented Coalition of Labor, Business, and Activists

Annapolis, MD – On Friday, March 17, the Maryland Senate passed the Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources (POWER) Act (SB781/HB793) by an overwhelming margin of 33-12. This landmark legislation is supported by an unprecedented coalition of labor unions, developers, environmentalists, consumer advocates, utilities, and justice groups. If enacted, the POWER Act would increase Maryland’s commitment to offshore wind,  build an offshore wind transmission line, construct more wind turbines, and ensure these projects are built with good, family-sustaining jobs. The bill now moves back to the House.

“The POWER Act is crucial right now for our planet and for our economy,” said Del. Lorig Charkoudian (District 20), the House sponsor. “This legislation sets a bold goal, establishes a procurement method that takes the burden off of ratepayers, and solves the most significant challenge to offshore wind development – transmission. It will lead to significant investment and new business in Maryland, with good union jobs.”

“The POWER Act is legislation that’s designed to meet the moment,” said Sen. Katie Fry Hester (District 9), the Senate sponsor. “Our state has set ambitious climate goals during the past four years, but in order to implement these goals, we must prioritize the rapid deployment of generation and transmission technologies to leverage over $1.5 billion of investment from the private sector. I am proud that we were able to move this bill quickly through the Senate.”

“Building more offshore wind will create good jobs, lower energy costs, and reduce pollution,” said Jamie DeMarco, Maryland Director of CCAN Action Fund. “We applaud Senate President Ferguson, Chair Feldman, Senator Hester, and Delegate Charkoudian for championing the POWER Act.”

The legislation would:

  • Strengthen labor standards for offshore wind manufacturing, installation, and maintenance, ensuring these projects provide good, union jobs. 
  • Set a goal for the state to generate 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2031. Maryland is currently building two gigawatts.
  • Facilitate the construction of a shared transmission infrastructure to reduce the cost and environmental impact of future offshore wind projects.
  • Procure roughly 1 additional gigawatt of offshore wind power in existing lease areas while protecting ratepayers.

Click here for a factsheet on the bill. Click here for a detailed guide to exactly what the POWER Act does.

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CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, West Virginia,  Virginia, and Washington, D.C.