Windpower Boondoggle

The fate of Governor O’Malley’s windpower boondoggle is  now in the hands of the Senate, as the House has passed the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act.  Although the envisioned project is relatively small, the corporate welfare effects are among the largest that the General Assembly has considered.   [Let’s define corporate welfare effects as the net loss to residents:  Amount of public money that will be fed to the well-connected corporation + other losses to residents.]

The bill creates an “Offshore Wind Business Development Fund”, funneling $17.7 million into the pockets of the project developers over five years.  Furthermore, according to the analysis of the State’s Department of Legislative Services,  both state and local expenditures  are expected to increase “significantly beginning in FY 2017 due to higher electricity prices.”

Sounds like a real win-win proposition, doesn’t it?  Only if you are one of the lucky developers poised to rake in both state subsidies and higher rates from the ratepayers, and then get further subsidies from taxpayers to cover the overruns.  For those corporations, it’s a guaranteed gain. For the ratepayers and taxpayers of Maryland, it’s a guaranteed loss.

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