Baltimore City Council Takes a Stand for Offshore Wind and Onshore Jobs

Supporters rally for offshore wind outside City Hall before the Baltimore City Council adopted a resolution in support of offshore wind development in Maryland.

On May 8th, the Baltimore City Council resoundingly passed a resolution in support of offshore wind development in Maryland. Baltimore City Councilwoman Sharon Middleton introduced the resolution, which was co-sponsored by 14 of the 15 City Councilmembers, urging the Public Service Commission to approve one or both of the offshore wind farm proposals currently under consideration.

Before Monday’s vote, over 20 Baltimore residents, local elected officials, and environmental advocates rallied in front of City Hall to show support for offshore wind development and the Baltimore City Council resolution. Supporters displayed art created by local artists and activists for the Peoples Climate March, which many attended the previous weekend in Washington, DC.

 

Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton, lead sponsor of the resolution and Vice-President of the Baltimore City Council, spoke at Monday’s rally: “It's important for Maryland, and more specifically, Baltimore, to get on board with organizations such as Clean Water Action and Chesapeake Climate Action Network to join other cities, states, and countries in the delivery of renewable wind energy projects. The health benefits, manufacturing careers, and resources are essential to the growth of our city.  We have the components and now is the time!”
Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton, lead sponsor of the resolution and Vice-President of the Baltimore City Council, spoke at Monday’s rally: “It’s important for Maryland, and more specifically, Baltimore, to get on board with organizations such as Clean Water Action and Chesapeake Climate Action Network to join other cities, states, and countries in the delivery of renewable wind energy projects. The health benefits, manufacturing careers, and resources are essential to the growth of our city. We have the components and now is the time!”

 

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently reviewing two proposals for offshore wind projects off Ocean City, Maryland. These two proposals present Maryland, and Baltimore in particular, with the opportunity to become a hub for the growing offshore wind industry. US Wind plans to build a 748-megawatt offshore wind farm, and Skipjack Offshore Wind proposes a 120-megawatt project. Both applicants have named Sparrows Point in Baltimore County as the site of a future assembly and manufacturing plant for their operations.

The Public Service Commission found that development, construction, and operation of the first phase of the US Wind project (248 megawatts) would create 7,050 jobs over 20 years and generate an estimated $1,354 million in economic activity for the state. The Public Service Commission also found that development, construction, and operation of the Skipjack project would create 2,635 jobs over 20 years and generate an estimated $536.4 million in economic activity for the state. Much of the economic activity created by both projects would take place in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

 

Laqeisha Greene, a young activist and lifelong resident of Baltimore City who is a member of the United Workers Leadership Council, the Westside Human Rights committee, and the Baltimore Housing Roundtable, proclaimed, "Baltimore needs offshore wind energy! Why? Because for too long this city has stood on feeble legs with the stance that trickle down development works, and it doesn't. It's time for the city government to invest in green energy and companies that will offer skilled tradework that's marketable and life sustaining."
Laqeisha Greene, a young activist and lifelong resident of Baltimore City who is a member of the United Workers Leadership Council, the Westside Human Rights committee, and the Baltimore Housing Roundtable, proclaimed, “Baltimore needs offshore wind energy! Why? Because for too long this city has stood on feeble legs with the stance that trickle down development works, and it doesn’t. It’s time for the city government to invest in green energy and companies that will offer skilled tradework that’s marketable and life sustaining.”

 

Not only would offshore wind projects create jobs and economic activity in Maryland and in Baltimore, a commitment to offshore wind energy would also displace polluting sources of energy, many of which are located in and around Baltimore, improving air quality across the state and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As an urban center and a port city, Baltimore has high potential for being heavily impacted by climate change. State and local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and invest in clean, renewable energy like offshore wind are important contributions to overall emissions reductions. 

 

“The Maryland Environmental Health Network supports offshore wind in Maryland because it is a real opportunity to displace pollution that increases poor health outcomes for Marylanders,” said MdEHN’s Executive Director Tamara Toles O'Laughlin. “We rank fifth in the nation in adult asthma and have some of the worst ground level ozone pollution in our region. Installed turbines generate no pollution. It is time to act on climate, and embrace renewable energy for cleaner air and better health for all.”
“The Maryland Environmental Health Network supports offshore wind in Maryland because it is a real opportunity to displace pollution that increases poor health outcomes for Marylanders,” said MdEHN’s Executive Director Tamara Toles O’Laughlin. “We rank fifth in the nation in adult asthma and have some of the worst ground level ozone pollution in our region. Installed turbines generate no pollution. It is time to act on climate, and embrace renewable energy for cleaner air and better health for all.”

 

The Public Service Commission must decide by May 17th whether or not to approve the proposals. If approved, these offshore wind projects could bring thousands of family-sustaining jobs to the Baltimore area, reduce Maryland’s reliance on fossil fuels, and limit air pollution.

 

Larry Bannerman, a resident of the Turner Station neighborhood near Sparrow’s Point and member of the Turner Station Conservation Teams, with 38 years of experience in High Voltage test, maintenance and repair, stated, “Fortunately for us, there is a tried and tested source of  clean energy that is bringing with it, jobs and skills for the future. That source of energy is offshore wind. I support the U.S. Wind project.”
Larry Bannerman, a resident of the Turner Station neighborhood near Sparrow’s Point and member of the Turner Station Conservation Teams, with 38 years of experience in High Voltage test, maintenance and repair, stated, “Fortunately for us, there is a tried and tested source of clean energy that is bringing with it, jobs and skills for the future. That source of energy is offshore wind. I support the U.S. Wind project.”

 

By passing this resolution on Monday, Baltimore City took a stand in support of offshore wind, family-sustaining jobs, and a stable climate. Now it’s up to the PSC to approve offshore wind in Maryland. Stay tuned!