03/19/2013 07:56 am ET Updated May 19, 2013

Better Choices, Better Results: Moving Maryland Towards Wind Power

Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Investing in cleaner, greener technologies that allow us to strike a more sustainable balance with the other living systems of this earth, this too, is a choice.

In Maryland, we are choosing to move forward with offshore wind because it holds the promise to create jobs and expand opportunity, while striking this balance for our planet.

To create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments. Building a 200-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Maryland would create almost 850 jobs in manufacturing and construction. We would create an additional 160 permanent Maryland jobs in supply, operations, and maintenance for the turbines.

Maryland is home to one of the world's most highly skilled, highly educated workforces. Advances in wind energy technology will make our greatest asset even stronger: creating opportunities in training and skills development, while establishing a new, 21st century infrastructure at our Port of Baltimore. The nucleus of expertise that exists in our state, when combined with increased demand on electricity generated by offshore wind, will place Maryland in a prime position to bring the strength of American manufacturing back to this region. It will also attract new partnerships with European offshore wind equipment manufacturers.

The Offshore Wind Energy Act could be not only a jobs creator, but also a history maker. It represents the first policy instrument in the nation that creates a true market with manageable demand.

Offshore wind gives us the potential to both create jobs, and do the right thing for consumers. But at the heart of it all, we are laying the ground work for a better, more sustainable future for our children. Every megawatt-hour of wind we generate in Maryland is a megawatt-hour we do not generate from fossil fuels that pollute our air, and make people sick. By advancing this project, we can prevent as much as 7.5 million tons of climate change-causing pollution from being pumped into our atmosphere. Wind technology would improve the health of our families as well - it could save Maryland's economy over $17 million per year in public health costs.

One of the things that defines our ability to be a winner in the new economy is the precious consensus we are able to forge to do difficult, but important and transformational things. These things do not happen by chance. They happen because of the choices that we make together. With better choices in Maryland, we are creating jobs and expanding opportunity, while doing the right thing for consumers, for our environment, and for our long-term energy independence and our long term energy future.