Environmentalists applauded the legislation's advancement.
"Our legislators are listening, and they know that Marylanders want clean energy," said Christine Hill, conservation and policy associate for the Sierra Club, Maryland. "By transitioning from dirty, outdated fossil fuels like coal towards clean energy sources like offshore wind, Maryland families will benefit with more local jobs, savings of nearly $2 billion in health-related costs over 20 years, and a safer climate for our childrens' futures."
The measure is expected to create 850 new construction and manufacturing jobs. It also applies Maryland's minority business enterprise requirements to all offshore wind projects.
The House passed a similar offshore wind bill set in place last year by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, but the measure stalled in the Senate Finance Committee.
This year, O'Malley is expecting a different outcome.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert, moved a member of the Senate Finance Committee to another panel in order to secure the vote needed to get the measure to the full Senate for debate.
Miller, a Democrat, expects the measure to pass the Senate.