Reminder DNR, MEA Ocean Planning And Offshore Renewable Energy Open Houses Begin Next Week

Annapolis, MD (March 24, 2010) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) will hold two public open houses to discuss the future of our ocean. The forums will provide citizens an opportunity to learn about the State’s ocean mapping and planning efforts, with a focus on offshore renewable energy.

“The opportunity for renewable energy generation through offshore wind is outstanding,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “One of the most important things we can do to create green jobs and lift ourselves out of a challenging economy today is to invest in a smarter, greener, more sustainable tomorrow.”

The first open house will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday, April 5 at the Department of Agriculture building at 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis. A second open house will be held April 12 near Ocean City at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Coastal Ecology Teaching and Research Center (CETRC) in Berlin, Md. Both sessions are open to the public.

These open houses are designed to allow citizens to ask questions and provide feedback at their own pace. Experts from both agencies and project partners will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about ocean mapping and planning, offshore wind, project timelines, anticipated processes and opportunities for community response.

“The ocean waters off the coast of Maryland provide a wealth of economic and environmental services to local communities,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin. “We are reaching out to our citizens to ensure that the State has the best information available to support the sustainable development of renewable energy in offshore areas.”

“Offshore wind has the potential to supply more renewable energy than any other resource in the region,” noted MEA Director Malcolm Woolf. “Maryland is committed to successfully harnessing these resources in a cost-effective way in order to provide the State with every opportunity to be able to satisfy its Renewable Portfolio Standard of 20 percent by 2022 and benefit from the growing Renewable Energy Credit market.”

Maryland’s ocean mapping and planning efforts can help identify areas for future offshore activities, reduce conflicts, facilitate compatible uses and reduce environmental impacts to sensitive natural resources. DNR and MEA are hoping to apply this information to help identify areas that may be suitable for offshore wind energy projects. The agencies have already compiled a strong foundation of data and information with the help of project partners, including The Nature Conservancy and the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research, but expect to collect more data and information from a broad range of stakeholders, especially through public meetings. The results will give the State significant guidance on offshore resources.


   March 24, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office | 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov

The mission of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) is to maximize energy efficiency while promoting economic development, reducing reliance on foreign energy supplies, and improving the environment. The MEA offers a wide variety of incentives and resources for residents, businesses and communities interested in reducing energy use, saving money and going green. For more information on available programs, please visit www.energy.maryland.gov